Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spiced lentils with pumpkin

Can you stand another stew?  This one was just so good...I've made it several times now, usually with variations, but the basic recipe comes from The Food of Morocco published by Murdoch Books.  There it's called Tagine 'adess bil gar'a hamra, which, ahem, I believe just translates to "a stew of spiced lentils with pumpkin." Someone else reproduced the recipe first so I don't have to.

Start with onion, chopped and sweated in a little olive oil.  When the onion is soft, add garlic, harissa (or cayenne), cumin, turmeric, and paprika. 

Continue to stir and fry for a minute or two until the garlic and spices are golden and fragrant.  Add chopped tomatoes (or diced canned or grated fresh tomatoes), tomato paste, parsley (my parsley was frozen but that's fine), salt (or in my case, broth powder for extra flavour) and pepper:

Continue frying for a little longer until the new ingredients are fully incorporated:

...and scrape this spicy, heady mixture into a pot of lentils that you have providently been gently boiling all this time.  Add cubed squash (mine was kabocha, but of course any sweet winter squash, peeled or skin on, would be good):

Simmer until the squash and lentils are tender--in my pot this took about 20 minutes.  Just before serving, add coriander to taste.  It wasn't part of the recipe, but about five minutes before taking the pot off the stove, I sprinkled in a few tablespoons of whole wheat couscous and ended up with this:

Otherwise, you'd want to serve the stew with bread or rice.  This was a lovely, nutritious meal in a bowl, something that, with my seemingly bottomless love of winter squash, I expect to make many more times this winter...especially with the cold weather finally coming on.  Doesn't it just look all warm--and I can assure you that the flavour, even with that small amount of harissa, is pretty hot!  Stay tuned for further squash experiments--there's a big green hubbard and a little red kuri squash on my table looking very inviting...


  1. This is a great recipe! And sorely needed here--I bought three monster squashes that you'd think would keep forever, but not so much. Thanks!

  2. I love stews over couscous; it is so warm and hearty! Another gorgeous, and delicious sounding one/

  3. This just looks so perfectly delicious. I like the method of adding the sauteed spices and veggies to the cooking lentils, and then cooking the squash in it; I bet it totally absorbs all those lovely flavors. I think I'm going to have to make this very soon. Stunningly gorgeous as usual!

  4. We finally finished the last of a similar lentil soup that we made last weekend — so delicious. It was red lentils with baked kabocha and sweet potato added, along with spices, etc. It was topped with a spicy fresh salsa that was recommended in the recipe, and which I never would have thought of otherwise. Last night I turned it into a kind of koshary by adding rice, macaroni, onions and tomatoes. In my opinion, you can never have too many lentil stew recipes!

  5. Stacy, use up those squashes! Go ahead and start with just cutting them in half and baking them--yum!

    Thanks, Maud--warm and hearty is just the word ;-)

    Rose, I liked the method of this too--it allowed everything to be cooked just right, and I'd use it again with lentils for sure.

    Oh, Andrea, yours sounds so very delicious! Kabocha and sweet potatoes are amazing together, like some kind of super-nutritional candy, and I love the fresh salsa idea. I had to look up "koshary," and now I am totally making it this weekend; it sounds like exactly my kind of thing. If I absolutely had to choose my favorite legume, it would have to be lentils...

  6. That sounds lovely! I like to roast pumpkin or squash first as it brings out all the sweetness. If you love wholewheat couscous, you might want to check out the recipe on my blog:

  7. I'm not gonna get intimidated by the photography. Noticed you left the rind on the Squash. That seems pretty hard core to me.

  8. Shenandoah, surprisingly, the skin of kabocha squash is not hard core at all. It took me a while to get this--okay, it took a lot of guilty nibbling at the skin of the baked squash, and finally eating the whole thing and looking forward to the "bonus" every time I would bake it...the skin is great, it gives a colour contrast, helps hold the pieces of squash together, and, most importantly of all, is easier than peeling. The hubbard squash I'm currently experimenting with, however, has a skin that *seems* like kabocha skin, but is in reality hard as rock.

  9. I've only bought Kabocha Squash once and I think it was a bad one. The skin did not appear edible on mine. I'll have to check it out again.