janet @ the taste space

Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian) on April 13, 2011 at 5:46 AM

Who likes garlic? I mean, really likes garlic? I probably shouldn’t scare the garlic-shy from this recipe, because it was really tasty. And didn’t leave me with garlic breath, so it couldn’t have been that potent with 14 cloves of garlic.

Ten of those garlic cloves are roasted, so they don’t really count towards the scary garlic count. Although, I almost had second thoughts as I dumped in 4 cloves of raw garlic at the end of making this stew. I shouldn’t have doubted Anya’s genius, though.

This recipe comes from The New Spanish Table, and I had been eyeing this recipe for months (I first mentioned it on my list of things to make with butternut squash back in November and again in January!). Honestly, I waited too long.  This is a lovely, hearty stew that is both savoury but still slightly sweet.  Lentils fill the stew as its base, and the butternut squash and red peppers add colour and sweetness. A head of roasted garlic brings a mellow sweetness as well. The peppers are both boiled and pan-fried for a contrast in flavour and texture (but I feel like this step could be skipped if you are pressed for time). And while I stated I don’t want to muck with Anya’s genius, I made a slight modification to her recipe, that I think lent to its prowess. Instead of adding in two fresh tomatoes (nothing with a fresh taste is around during the winter!), I added 1 cup of passata (strained tomatoes) at the end. This is where you get a silky tomato base for the stew that complements the squash, bell pepper and lentils so well.

I love it when I am surprised by a dish; but I shouldn’t have been. 🙂

This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Jaya at Desi Soccer Mom, and E.A.T. World for Spain.

Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic (Potaje De Lentejas y Calabaza)

14 cloves garlic, divided (or 1 head of garlic, plus 4 minced garlic cloves)
8 cups water (or vegetable broth)
2 onions; 1 cut in half; the other minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound butternut squash, cut into 3/4-inch dice (2 cups)
1 cup passata (aka strained tomatoes; or crushed tomatoes with some tomato paste)
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp minced cilantro or parsley
pinch saffron
2 tbsp sherry  vinegar
1/4 tsp salt (I also added a touch of smoked salt)

1. Preheat the oven to 400F (the toaster oven would be best!)

2. Cut the top off the head of garlic and discard. Brush the cut edge of the garlic with olive oil, place it in a small baking dish, and bake until soft, 25-30 minutes. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, place it in a double layer of cheesecloth along with the onion halves and bay leaf and tie the cheesecloth shut.

3. Place the lentils in a 4-quart pot, add 8 cups water and thyme, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Skim any foam off the surface, then add the cheesecloth bag, and half of the bell peppers. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the squash and cook until it is almost tender, 20 minutes.

4. While the lentils are cooking, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion and remaining bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, 5-7 minutes. Add the paprika and cook until onions are soft, 1-2 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the lentils. Add the passata and mix well. If the lentils seem too thick, add some or all of the remaining water (or broth). Season the lentils with salt and black pepper to taste and simmer until the lentils and pumpkin are very soft, about 10 minutes longer (it’s all right if the squash begins to disintegrate a bit).

5. Remove the cheesecloth bag from the lentils and discard all but the garlic head. Squeeze the flesh from the roasted garlic and chop it finely or coarsely mash with a fork. Place the raw minced garlic, the cilantro/parsley, saffron, and a small pinch of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, mash them into a paste. Add the roasted garlic and mash until combined. Add 2 tablespoons very hot water to the mortar and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Stir the garlic mixture into the lentils. Add the vinegar. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt, pepper and/or vinegar as necessary. Let the lentils cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve.

Serves 6.

  1. I adore lentils and butternut together in soup, but I really like how this has some unexpected other flavors going on. It sounds simply wonderful.

  2. Thats a wonderful looking stew, flavourful and delicious..

  3. wow, that is such a lovely and delicious looking stew. Hey, I was wondering if you saw about “MAITRI – A Friendship Chain” event. If not, please do take a look and try to participate, it will be fun 🙂


    Send me an email @ priya.mitharwal@gmail.com

  4. I am adoring this stew! In my opinion it is always butternut squash season…and I could eat lentils by the pound! I hope I still have some dry ones left from my past few recipes…this looks too good not to make!

  5. This vegetarian stew looks so hearty and rich, great for a cool day!

  6. Bring on the garlic! This looks like a wonderful combination of ingredients and nutritious and hearty too. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays! 😉

  7. Mmm I love lentils in stew! Though am currently wanting to avoid raw garlic in food as Tess Challis uses SO much of it and I just can’t handle it anymore.

    • oh no! that’s terrible, Ashley. She dos use a lot, but I love it, too. I hope you’ll be able to get back into the garlic groove!

  8. […] Sometimes you need quick-and-easy recipes, nothing too earth shattering, for times when you don’t want to think about dinner. This is that dish. There is nothing mind-blowing about this dish, but it is pleasingly tasty.  Adapted from Appetite for Reduction, the recipe is a vegan spoof on the 40-clove chicken recipe that I had seen circulating the blogosphere, and even hails from a 1967 Gourmet recipe. This is a dish that combines roasted broccoli with roasted garlic in a spicy-lemon oregano dressing. It is not spicy from the garlic (since there are only 10 cloves of roasted garlic), but rather from the Aleppo chili flakes I added in. For the garlic lovers out there, you could even add more garlic (you may also like my Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic). […]

  9. This stew sounds soooo delicious!! I really want to try it, but I don’t have sherry vinegar or saffron or thyme or a bay leaf — should I substitute anything? Or will it still come out okay if I leave these ingredients out? (I live in a place where they’re difficult or impossible to find.)

    • Hey Teri, For the sherry vinegar, I would substitute a neutral vinegar (rice vinegar?) or lemon juice. I think the saffron and bay leaf could be skipped altogether. The thyme is important but could still work without it. Just make sure you have a robust veggie broth, though. Definitely let me know how you like it. 🙂

      • Thanks, Janet — I’ll let you know. I found thyme and bay leaves (so that’s great). Now I will see what I can do about a cheesecloth. What’s better: rice vinegar or lemon juice? I have both. I’m going to make it tomorrow. :o)

      • I think the rice vinegar would be better here… I can’t wait to hear how you enjoy it 🙂

  10. parsley or cilantro? (in the list of ingredients it says 2 T. cilantro, and down below it says “parsley”)

  11. […] of garlic for The New Best Salad Ever, 10 cloves of (roasted) garlic with broccoli and chickpeas, 14 cloves of raw and roasted with this Spanish stew, or a whole 1/3 cup (12 cloves) with my baked beans. I love my […]

  12. […] Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic […]

  13. I would recommend using broth instead of water, especially if you don’t have actual passata, because I used water and ‘winter tomatoes’ and the broth was weak. Furthermore, rice vinegar then became overpowering when added (no sherry vinegar either). Any suggestions on how to combat the vinegar taste at this point? Also, 8oz of butternut squash turned out to be only 1 cup when I weighed it, so I used that.The consistency turned out perfect.

    • Eek, sorry to hear about the weak tomatoes. Sometimes I find adding a touch of nutritional yeast can combat a weak broth. A bit of sweetener can help to balance the acid. I hope this helps! Let me know what you end up doing and how it goes. 🙂

  14. […] Spain: Spanish Lentil and Squash Stew with Roasted Garlic, via The Taste Space […]

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