1 cup organic red lentils, soaked for 24 hours, then drained and washed
1 medium-sized roasted butternut squash chopped up into small chunks, plus 1 tbsp olive oil to roast
1 onion, chopped
½ tbsp coconut oil
1 tin (400ml) organic coconut milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 vegetable stock pot
Boiling water – up to 300ml.
150gm Tesco organic chestnut mushrooms (optional)
2 tbsp Thai-style Red Curry paste (optional)
2 cloves garlic (optional)
Day before making: Measure out the lentils into a bowl and soak in plenty of filtered water overnight. Then strain off the water and rinse the lentils well.
Can also be done in advance – put the butternut squash into a bowl and pour the olive oil over, making sure it’s all covered (can use melted coconut oil instead of olive oil). Put it into a hot oven – 180C Fan until the squash is soft and a bit browned on the edges (20-30 minutes).
Day of cooking the stew
Put the coconut oil into a large pan to melt, then add the onion and gently let it sauté until it’s translucent.
Add the lentils and stir them around with the onions until they are well-covered with oil and have warmed up.
Pour in the tin of coconut milk and bring to a soft boil, stirring regularly, then turn down to a simmer.
Add the roasted butternut squash and mix in well.
Put half the stockpot into a jug and add 150ml boiling water. Stir well to dilute the stockpot. Add to the stew – at this stage add more or less water depending on the thickness of stew wanted. I have it as a sort of stoup – halfway between soup and stew!
Let this all simmer for up to an hour, stirring it regularly to prevent the lentils sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Chop up the mushrooms and press the garlic, if using. Stir the mushrooms into the stew about 30 minutes into the simmer and, if using the Red Curry paste, stir in 1 tbsp to start with then add more to taste. Add the garlic 10 minutes before the end. Keep stirring.
Serve with some toasted sourdough or other bread. Good to sprinkle some chopped up parsley or coriander over it when serving too. If you’ve made it spicy, it can be nice to have a dollop of yogurt on top (for vegans, use coconut yoghurt).
Ettaline Hill, Oct 2020.