This hearty Butternut Squash Lentil Stew is simple enough for a weeknight dinner, but flavorful enough to serve to guests all winter long.
Soup/stew is my favorite thing to make in the colder months. There’s something about cozying up on the couch with a big bowl of stew that makes me warm and fuzzy inside.
Butternut Squash Soup was the first dinner I learned to make for myself at college. It’s honestly probably less about the fact that I loved soup and more about the fact that I could fill 4 containers up, freeze them, then reheat one after another throughout the month. Less work, you know?
With the weather down to a perfect 50° these days, I had a hankering for a hearty, comforting stew. I had a vision in my mind of a thick, rich lentil stew bursting with flavor. I didn’t want it to be too spiced, or too heavy. I wanted it juuuuust right.
So I got a’cookin, and to my surprise, this turned out to be one of the best stews I’ve ever made.
After letting this soup cook for 2.5 hours, the flavors morph into something totally new. Like with many stews, the end result is more than the sum of its parts. Somehow during the slow and steady cooking process, magic happens.
The tomato and cumin in this stew adds wonderful warmth, while the butternut squash helps to lighten the heavier lentils. And, of course, lentil’s best friend is thyme (at least I think so), so adding in the herb imparts a lovely freshness.
Even though I have loads else to do in preparation for heading to Boston next week, I am most definitely finding time to make this stew again. Alex and I have already decided it is going to be a staple in our winter dinner rotation.
What’s your favorite soup/stew to make in the cold months? I want to hear about it!
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 3 cups butternut squash, cut into ¾ inch cubes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2¼ cups green lentils
- 8 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred!)
- parmesan, for garnish
- In a dutch oven or large pot, cook the onion and celery over medium low heat for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add in butternut squash, garlic, cumin, thyme, and salt, cooking an additional 5 minutes.
- Add in diced tomatoes, lentils, and chicken stock and allow to come to a rolling boil.
- Turn heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. Once time has elapsed, remove cover and continue to simmer for an additional hour, until stew is thick and creamy. Makes about 3 quarts.