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°F 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 lentil stew 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 lentil and butternut squash stew again. Alex and I have already decided it is going to be a staple in our winter dinner rotation.
How to make butternut squash lentil stew
Don’t let the long cooking time for this recipe scare you away. The hands-on prep work takes around 15 minutes, and once everything is in the pot you can walk away from it until you’re ready to eat. To make this vegetarian lentil stew, you simply have to:
Saute the veggies — Add the onion and celery to a large pot or dutch oven and saute until translucent. Then, add in the squash, garlic, and spices and cook for an additional 5 minutes or so.
Bring it all to a boil — Add in the stock, tomatoes, and lentils and bring the lentil stew to a rolling boil.
Cover and cook — Pop the lid onto the pot and cook the lentil stew for 90 minutes. Check the stew and give it a good stir, then continue cooking for another hour with the lid off. During this last hour, the lentil stew should thicken up considerably and become ultra creamy.
What’s your favorite soup/stew to make in the cold months? I want to hear about it!