Spicy butternut squash and chickpea stew


I purchased a butternut squash with the intention to make a curry for mid-week or weekend dinner, but  to my disappointment the book I was convinced would have the recipe, did not. So I reached out for this years favourite book: Good Things to Eat, Lucas Hollweg, and found a suitable replacement. The option was not a curry, still it satisfied my wish to cook the squash in a spicy warming dish. This new meal was to be for my lunch, which also gave me a change from winter soups.

The stew was a step up from soup and perhaps a little more effort to make, but it was worth it, and I looked forward to having it at 12.30 every day. I had this dish with no accompaniments as it was lunch, but if you wanted to make this for dinner you could add rice or a baked potato to go with this dish.

Ingredients
1 ping-pong ball-sized preserved lemon
2 tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
12 saffron threads
a good pinch of crushed chilli flakes
600g (1lb 5oz) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm (¾in) cubes
2 x 400g (14oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped plum tomatoes
juice of 1 orange
500ml (18fl oz) chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper
5 bulging handfuls of baby spinach leaves
2 handfuls of coriander leaves
Greek yoghurt, to serve

Cut the preserved lemon into quarters. Scoop out and discard the pulp and finely chop the peel.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and let it cook gently for 6–7 minutes, or until soft and pale gold, then add the garlic, spices and lemon peel and stir for a minute or so more. Tip in the squash and chickpeas and stir everything together so it’s thoroughly mixed.

Add the tomatoes, orange juice and stock. Season, and bring to a simmer, then cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 40–45 minutes, or until the squash is soft, pushing the bits under the surface from time to time. Throw in the spinach and stir through until it is wilted and soft.

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Season well, tasting as you go – you’ll need at least another ¼ teaspoon salt, probably more – then mix in most of the coriander. Pile into bowls, scattering each one with more coriander and adding a blob of Greek yoghurt.

Serves 6 approximately 150kcals per serving.

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