Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash

I haven’t done a food post in a really long time, so I thought I would write about one of Judy’s new favorite recipes. “New” being a relative concept – actually she’s been making this regularly for the last couple of months.

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Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash and Ground Lamb

My enthusiasm for lentils is kept well under control, but I’ll admit that this stew is delicious. The recipe comes from the New York Times, and you can find it here. Judy has, of course, made many variations on the original.

The recipe posted by the NYT calls for lamb and pumpkin. Judy has made vegetarian versions and also substituted ground lamb. Instead of pumpkin, she uses butternut squash, and I’m sure any winter squash would do.

We also find that we like it when she adds a pinch of hot red pepper and doubles the amount of turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin called for. Also, I like to add a dollop of yogurt (or, if  Judy isn’t watching, sour cream).

It’s a good warming meal for cool or cold weather. Give it a try, even if you are not a big fan of lentils.

34 Comments on “Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash”

  1. I’m now halfway across the country, so I didn’t know he was going to post this. This stew is shockingly delicious, even if you think you don’t care for lentils. I have made both the pieces of lamb version and the veggie version as in Bittman’s recipe, and loved them, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t also created my own versions.

    The first thing you need to know is that this is like making homemade vegetable soup, in that you can’t possibly go wrong adding a little of this and a little of that.

    Here are my variations (to date) on the original recipe.

    Cubes of lamb = too much work. Ground lamb works well, and I bet ground beef or turkey would also. Lamb is pricy, but one pound makes four very hearty servings. You could also stretch it by serving it over rice.

    It is possible that I got lazy enough to buy frozen chunks of butternut squash (peeling a squash is quite a feat.) Don’t add them too soon or they melt away. Fresh is better, but the best stew is the one that gets made. One ten ounce bag is kind of skimpy, especially if you like squash.

    And lentils take forever to cook! Turns out you can also buy them frozen. Who knew.

    Now here’s the key: augmenting the spices. Increase everything Bittman calls for by 30% or so. Then add half a teaspoon of allspice, ditto of ground coriander, and a couple shakes of ground cloves. Plus black pepper. Red pepper sparingly if desired.

    I have never added raisins, but I bet it would be good. I did add a package of mixed chopped greens (they were frozen) the other night when I thought we needed more green veggies, and it was good. I almost threw in a handful of peanuts once, but maybe I was just being crazy.

    This stuff is even better the second day.

    • Judy, you’ve convinced me! I will be making this soon. Thanks for the tips. Love Mark Bittman! I have his “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.” It is one of my go-to cookbooks.

  2. I actually really like lentils, and this recipe sounds great. Up until this year, I really hated butternut squash 🙂 I think I’d had it sweetened, and I’ve found that I really love it when it has middle eastern spices. I also love lamb, so this sounds like one I’ll need to bookmark.

  3. Looks delish! One of my favorite recipes is a lamb, butternut, pomegranate stew. I never thought of using ground lamb. What a great idea. A couple of tablespoons of pomegranate molasses would complement the ingredients you mention, if Judy feels like trying it.

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