We have an abundance of winter squash from the garden…butternut, honey nut, and winter sweet. Fortunately, there are many ways to prepare these fruits that are commonly thought of as a vegetable. We use them in soups and stews. We roast cubes or puree after baking. Winter squash can be combined with savory seasonings or made into desserts.
But one of my favorites was inspired by a dish we ate a couple of years ago at Bar Acuda in Kauai. One of the tapas on the menu at that time was a simple but satisfying and rich tasting dish of French lentils with cubes of winter squash. Note: French lentils are smaller than other lentils with a very distinctive flavor. They don’t get as mushy as other lentils when cooked – I wouldn’t substitute other types of lentils.
- Cook French Lentils according to directions until just done. Don’t overcook – they should be tender but not mushy. (I cooked 1 cup dry lentils.)
- Bake the winter squash whole or roast cubes. Again, cook until just tender but not mushy. You could also cut up the cubes and cook covered in some olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low heat until just tender. (I cooked about 1 1/2 cup cubed squash.)
- Chop up a shallot extra fine, and saute in olive oil or butter over medium-low heat until tender but not browned. Add the cooked lentils and cubes of winter squash. Pour just enough heavy cream over this mix to moisten well with a bit of cream that isn’t absorbed. (I used about 1/2 cup heavy cream.) Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve this as a side dish, appetizer or with bread, cheese and salad as a vegetarian meal.