After a lovely walk along the London Loop through Bushy Park yesterday, supper needed to be straightforward, and ideally use up the butternut squash and mushrooms that were lurking in the fridge.
I found lots of recipes for squash and mushroom pasta of various sorts, but then I came across Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s vegetarian version of harira, North African squash and chickpea stew, in his Veg Everyday, and used that as a base for this stew, adding chilli and mushrooms to the original. Serves 3.
1 tbsp olive or sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ green chilli (more if you like it hot)
50g red lentils
200g cooked chickpeas (½ can)
1 tin tomatoes
3 tbsp chopped parsley
A small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
150g Butternut squash
500 ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
150g chestnut mushrooms
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté them until softening and starting to turn golden. Turn the heat down and add the celery, spices and season well with black pepper, stirring to mix.
Halve the chilli, remove the seeds and add to the pan. Add the tomatoes and their juice, crushing them (or you could use passata), then the lentils, parsley and half the coriander. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
Peel and deseed the squash and cut into large cubes. Trim the stalks of the mushrooms and cut them into 4 or 6 chunks each, depending on size. Add the squash to the pan with the stock and bay leaf, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the chick peas and mushrooms and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until all is tender. Serve with rice (or, as in Hugh F-W’s recipe, you could add small pasta, such as orzo, to the stew with the mushrooms) and the rest of the coriander.
The resulting stew is warm with spices and the chickpeas and lentils make it a homely, substantial dish, even without the pasta. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests serving this with dates – I think they work better afterwards, with sliced oranges, a refreshing contrast to end the meal.