Delicata squash is the unsung hero of just about…everything. Think of any wonderful squash in the world and this baby will beat it guaranteed. Flesh that is almost honey sweet, with soft, edible skin- there’s nothing that matches it. As the name implies, the skin is a little more delicate than most other squash because it is very thin. This works in our favor though because it means it’s super easy to handle and dismantle.
Despite getting an A+ in every area of my book, I rarely see it at farmer’s markets and I’ve never seen it in the grocery store (though I did see some online pictures earlier this week about it being spotted at Trader Joe’s). This is a real bummer but on the flip side, what it means is that whenever I do see it, I get ridiculously excited and buy a bunch.
What I’m saying here is, if you see it, buy it.
Buy all of it.
I’m going to let you in on a secret here: my boyfriend is a better cook than me. In the kitchen, he has the magical ability to toss together ingredients and just get them to work. Soups and stews he can thicken, flavors he can meld. When I started cooking in college I was awful and I had to follow every recipe to the letter. I paid more attention to what the recipe said, than to the food cooking away in front of me. This is one of the reasons why I enjoyed baking more- you can (and typically have to) follow the recipe exactly and it will turn out great!
I eventually learned to listen to my food more and take more liberties in the recipes I follow but if things start to go south, I still (often frantically) call on him to help fix it.
One important thing I’ve learned though, is that you can never have too much onion and fresh garlic is a must.
This recipe is based on one that Mr. C made last year. Call me weird, but with the changing of the seasons and my excitement at finding delicata squash, it’s one that I started thinking about immediately and often. It’s the perfect dish for fall or winter. With the lentils it’s high on carbs and fiber so it’s very filling but it’s also naturally high in protein.
I figure, if it’s a recipe that I look forward to with the changing of the seasons, then it must be a good one! I hope you enjoy it too!
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Lentil Stew with Delicata Squash
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion
2 Small Leeks
3 Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup of Cilantro
1 Delicata Squash
1 Cup Lentils
1 Cup Water
8 oz White Mushrooms (approx 1 1/2 cup chopped)
3-4 Strands of Saffron (optional)
1 TBSP Soy Sauce
Start by chopping the onion, garlic and cilantro. Slice the leeks in half and cut into small 1/4 inch segments.
Heat oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, garlic and cilantro. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
In the meantime, slice your squash in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into 1/2 inch segments. Chop your mushrooms separately and set aside.
Add the chopped delicata squash and lentils to the pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes before adding 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and the chopped mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes before adding the remaining broth and water
Add 3-4 saffron strands and the soy sauce.
Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes before turning the heat down to low and cooking for another 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed.
Serve and enjoy!