I apologize in advance for the brain-dump this is about to be…it’s just one of those posts!
This week Sean, Casper, and I made a quick overnight trip to Seattle. I wanted to go to Jessica’s book signing and Sean wanted to visit his BFF. It was super quick, but so fun! Casper and I met up for coffee with Jessica and her mom (who is SO sweet and friendly) before the event and she is the best! Really, just as warm, funny, and conversational as her blog. I loved it. It’s always super fun to meet someone you correspond with on the internets, in real life. On a side note, the book store where the signing took place, The Book Larder, is AMAZING. It’s a bookstore exclusively dedicated to cookbooks and it’s wonderful. If you are ever in Seattle, definitely go there.
After that Casper and I met up with Sean, his BFF and his wife, and had pizza and salad at their apartment and met their HUGE, soft, sweet Burnese pup. It was a fun, whirlwind-ish mid-week trip. I was a little nervous how Casper would fare, being in the car for 3 hours each way, roaming around Seattle, and sleeping in a strange place, but he was a total champ and mostly napped the whole time. I was super impressed, and a little jealous of his napping skills, ha!
After we got home, I discovered all of my succulents had spider mites…insert cringey-face-emoji!!! I am super squeamish about any kind of insect, even the teensiest ones, so I moved those suckers outside and am currently mourning the loss of my succulents/trying not to freak out/itch my face off.
Now that I’ve grossed you out with bug-talk, lets talk food. I know…cringe…SORRY.
Anyway, before I left, I made this stew…and full disclosure, I’ve totally posted a similar recipe on the blog before. This version is a bit different and I thought it was worth a revamp/revisit. I love this stew and it’s variations for a lot of reasons. It’s easy and quick, filling, warm from all the spices, vegetarian, and pretty cheap to make with on-hand pantry staples…plus, it’s totally adaptable. This version contains plenty of butternut squash that brings a bit of welcome sweetness against the spiciness of the serrano chiles. Red lentils and chickpeas make this stew hearty and filling without the addition of meat. I love to serve this stew with a tangy, creamy cheese one top, or even a hefty dollop of greek yogurt, for some tang and creaminess. Fresh cilantro and lemon brighten up the party and are a nice contrast to the warm spices.
Spicy Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, and Goat Cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
2 serrano peppers, seeded and diced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cups diced butternut squash
1/2 cup dry, red lentils
1, 15.5 ounce, can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1, 28 ounce, can crushed tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
salt to taste
juice of 1 lemon
soft goat cheese
lemon wedges and pita to serve
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, and serrano, plus a small pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and the onions are translucent. Add the minced ginger and garlic, and cook about 1 minute before adding the tomato paste, cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric, stir well to combine and cook for a few minutes until the tomato paste becomes deep red. Then, add in the butternut squash, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, and chicken stock, all at once. Stir well to combine, taste for salt, then bring the stew to a boil. Once the stew is boiling turn it down to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils and squash are tender. Taste again for salt, season as desired. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Serve generous portions of the stew with crumbled goat cheese, cilantro, lemon wedges, and warmed pita bread. [/recipe]