Armenian Ragout of Lentils, Squash, Apricots Recipe

Armenian Ragout of Lentils, Squash, Apricots Recipes

Ingredients :

1.5 lb butternut squash

3/4 cup green lentils

1 cup vegetable stock plus more as needed for thinning and reheating

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into quarters, soaked in hot water

1 cup diced plum tomatoes (optional)

2 tbsp lemon juice

salt and pepper

chopped parsley

Method :

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the butternut squash for 45-50 minutes, until tender but firm. When the squash is cool enough to handle, remove the peel, discard the seeds, and cut the flesh into 1/2-inch chunks. Or you may peel the squash, cut it into 1/2-inch chunks, and poach them in water or vegetable stock until firm-tender. Drain and set aside. Cover the lentils with cold water and bring up a boil. Simmer until firm-tender, 20-30 minutes. Keep testing, as the cooking time for lentils can vary greatly depending on their age. When the lentils are cooked through, drain them well and set them aside.

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and add the onion, Reduce the heat and cook, covered, until tender and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and cinnamon and simmer for a few minutes. Add the dried apricots with some of their soaking liquid, the reserved lentils and squash, and the optional tomatoes; simmer to combine flavors for about 15 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. If the ragout seems dry, add more apricot liquid or stock. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with rice.

Serves 4

This sweet and savory ragout makes a very satisfying and filling dinner when accompanied by steamed basmati rice. It can be prepared ahead of time and reheated, but you will probably need to add more liquid when reheating because the lentils, squash, and apricots absorb much of the pan juices as the dish sits. Fresh green lentils are best, as they hold their shape; however, you can make the ragout with brown soup lentils or red Indian lentils, but they will soften more quickly and become more like a puree.

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