Moving into the colder winter months, the main thing I want to cook and eat is warming comfort food- stews, daubes, curries, hot-pots, chillies and casseroles. Apart from the heavenly and filling stodginess of this type of food, it also is much more economical on your pocket than summer dining on salads and the like. As an added bonus, it’s really easy to stretch a wintery recipe with lentils and beans, and get more of your five a day by bulking out the vegetable content.
While there are only two of us in our apartment, cooking large pots of stews works out for the best- a 6 portion stew like the North African Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew gives us a filling dinner one night and then 2 days worth of lunch. Gotta say, it tastes much better than a sandwich from a deli or dinner from my work canteen!
North African Butternut Squash & Chickpea Stew with Orzo
Adapted from River Cottage Veg Every Day- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
150g red lentils
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 saffron strands
500 ml passata
handful of parsley, chopped
handful of coriander, chopped
400g butternut squash
1.2 litres vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until just starting to turn golden. Turn the heat down and add the garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger. Season well with black pepper and salt, and sauté for another couple of minutes.
- Add the lentils, chickpeas, saffron, passata, parsley and half of the coriander. Cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, peel and de-seed the butternut squash and cut into large cubes. Add to the pan with the stock and bay leaf. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce and thicken.
- Add the orzo and simmer until the pasta is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately, scattered with the remaining coriander leaves.