Nazareth with Brooklyn Accents, Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Stew from 'Olives, Lemons and Za'atar'

With Olives, Lemons & Za'atar (Kyle Books, February 2014), Rawia Bishara takes us on a journey from her roots in Nazareth to her current Brooklyn home where she owns Tanoreen restaurant.

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Stew


1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 shallots, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
2 chile peppers, such as long hots, jalapeños or poblanos
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 butternut squash, peeled and diced to make 5 to 6 cups
1 and 1/2 cups red lentils, picked over

Sweet pea and kafta stew

If you make this stew once, there is no going back. Growing up, I loved my lentil soup pureed, but in this recipe I leave the lentils whole. The butternut squash adds a mellow sweetness that gives the stew another flavor dimension, but it is also delicious with chunks of yams or even pumpkin. Use one of these vegetables or a mix to make this stew, which can be served piping hot, warm or chilled.

Heat 6 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Toss in the shallots and onion and saute until soft and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the chile peppers, cilantro, coriander, cumin, black pepper and stir, about 1 minute. Stir in the squash. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, about 10 minutes.

Add the lentils and 6 cups water, cover and cook for about 12 minutes. If the squash has not softened, pour in 1 cup additional water, cover and cook for 10 minutes more.

Ladle the stew into serving bowls, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Eat your vegetable stew for Green Day # 267

(* Recipe reproduced from 'Olives, Lemons & Za'atar' by Rawia Bishara -Kyle Books, February 2014- Photography by Peter Cassidy, all rights reserved...illustration is 'Sweet Pea and Kafta Stew')

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