In our new series blogger Helen Best-Shaw revisits beans, pulses and lentils and finds new twists on old staples. Here she uses up her edible Halloween decorations and the last Bramley apple from the bottom of the fridge.
In the middle of October I bought a selection of mini squashes and pumpkins to decorate the stairs up to my flat. Halloween is long gone and, as least in part because there is no heating on the stairs up to the flat, they are still in perfect condition and begging to be used in a pretty dish. I had one last Bramley apple at the bottom of the fridge that added some extra flavour and sweetness to the dish.
Beluga lentils are small, black pulses; when cooked they glisten and shine, and; supposedly, look like beluga caviar. Happily they are far cheaper than caviar, perhaps more expensive than some other lentils, but worth the extra for their delicate earthy taste and that they retain texture once cooked.
They are also fantastic to add to soups, or cooked and cooled and added to salads. If you cannot find them substitute puy lentils.
Quantities and timings are approximate, depending on the size of your pumpkin and age of the lentils. Use an ordinary dessert apple in place of the Bramley, or diced carrots or parsnips.
Black Beluga Lentil Stuffed Squash or Pumpkin
Serves 2 (with leftovers)
1 tbs olive oil
1 onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic - chopped
170g beluga lentils
1 Bramley apple – cored and chopped – no need to peel
400ml vegetable stock
Pinch herbs of your choice – dried or fresh
1 small pumpkin or squash – about 8”
Pour the oil into a large sauté or frying pan and heat, fry the onion and garlic until the onion starts to turn translucent.
Add the lentils, apple, stock and herbs. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring from time to time until the lentils have started to soften. (about 20 mins)
Whilst the lentils are cooking cut the top off the pumpkin and hollow the inside out, removing the seeds.
Fill the pumpkin with the lentil mix (place any extra into a small casserole dish), cover and bake at GM5 / 190C until the flesh of the pumpkin is soft and the lentils are cooked.
Cut the pumpkin into slices to serve.
Notes: Remove the fibres from the pumpkin seeds, wash well, toss in some oil and salt and pepper and roast until golden for a snack.
Heat leftovers with some more stock whizzed up into a delicious soup. Top with a spoon of sour cream and serve with good bread.
Inspired? For more butternut squash recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.