Saturday, 29 January 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Spiced Lentils

We were fortunate the other day whilst cruising the fresh veggie aisles in one of our local supermarkets, to find 2 marked down Acorn Squashes. So they were very quickly added to our trolley and we were very happy shoppers. A couple of years back I had found a recipe on one of my most favourite blogs (the creator Susan V is a genius) for Miniature Pumpkins stuffed with Spiced Lentils. And waited for the chance to make it. We don't tend to get such a good selection of squashes here and if we do they are quite pricey. So I stashed the recipe in my ever growing collection and waited. It was when we were away on holiday in Wales that we found the most amazing collection of squashes and pumpkins. We came back from holiday, not with trinkets but with a bag of various pumpkins and squashes. We were very happy. One of the first things I cooked when we got home was this recipe. Slightly different to how we've done it today, for one the Carnival Squashes were quite a bit larger than our 'budget' buys. They were such splendid specimens that we simply rinsed them and roasted them whole. Today we have one medium sized one and one small so we went with halving them and roasting instead. The first time we cooked this we filled them with the lentil (which I highly recommend as its delicious) stuffing and sat them on a finely sliced red cabbage base. So proud were we that we took photos and I wasn't blogging then. Now its nice to have the excuse to take the photos and display them. Blogging can come in handy sometimes, ”I'm not sad...I'm doing it for the good of the blog!”, will be my war cry now. Lol So following this, is the recipe and I urge you to try it. It's so tasty and smells so good when its cooking. Make friends with squash!

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Spiced Lentils Serves 4 or 6
(recipe found on Submitted by SusanV Recipe by Smirk)
4 sm/med pumpkin/squashes or 6 tiny pumpkin/squashes
1 medium onion, sliced
1 8oz can of tomato passata
1 tsp of sugar
2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups of brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 ½ cups veggie stock
1 tsp salt (omit for low sodium diets)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 325ºF, 170ºC or Gas Mark 3. Fill a 9x13 baking pan with 1 inch of water. Set the whole pumpkins in the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes for miniature pumpkins and 55 for medium or until a blade of a knife penetrates the flesh easily. (or microwave: poke holes in the pumpkins. Wrap each one with micro safe cling film and microwave on High for 7 minutes. Rotate the pumpkins and microwave 4 to 5 minutes longer) Let cool and then carefully remove the tops to make a lid. Scoop out the seeds.

While the pumpkins are baking, in a large saucepan, heat non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, sugar, cumin, paprika and cinnamon. Add the lentils and broth. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 40-45 minutes. Drain into a colander. Season lentils with salt and cayenne to your taste.

Fill hollowed pumpkins with equal amounts of hot lentil stuffing. Cover each pumpkin with its lid and serve at once.

Hope you try it...maybe not today...maybe in two years like I did! But it will be worth it. I know we will be enjoying our dinner tonight. R