I made this stew a few weeks ago – it was inspired by this recipe that a friend of mine had made a few weeks back. I wanted my version to be more hearty and less gratin-like, so I decided to add chickpeas and lentils to it.
I also wanted this dish to have a bright taste, and not a smoky, earthy flavor that seemed like the obvious way to go, so I chose to add black pepper, lemon, and parsley to both the stew and the couscous. A little goat cheese on top at the end helped to brighten things up and also gave me an excuse to add my favorite food group (that would be the cheese group) to this dish.
Butternut Squash, Leek, and Chickpea Stew with
vegan if not using cheese
For the stew
½ cup green lentils
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 small leeks, thinly sliced and washed well (about 3 cups)
1 large garlic clove, minced
Neck from 2-3 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¼” thick quarter-moons
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup water
¾ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup roughly chopped parsley
4 ounces goat cheese, broken into small pieces (optional)
For the couscous
1 cup water
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup couscous
1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest
4 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
Put the lentils in a small saucepan and cover them with at least 3 inches of water. Bring the pot a boil, and then simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils and set them aside.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a pot set over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the coriander and stir until it is fragrant, about 1 ½ minutes. Add the leeks and garlic and cook until soft, about 15-20 minutes. If the leeks start to brown, lower the heat.
When the leeks are soft, add the squash, chickpeas, water, salt, pepper, and cooked lentils. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes.
While the stew is cooking, make the couscous. Bring the water to a boil in a small pot. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt, olive oil, and couscous. Cover the pot and let it sit for 10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the lemon zest and parsley, as well as more salt, if necessary, to taste. Cover the pot and let the couscous sit until ready to serve.
Transfer the stew to serving plates and top each serving with ¼ of the goat cheese. Serve with the couscous.