Last night, we had some lentils, some mushrooms, and a rapidly ageing squash in the cupboard. And we wanted dinner, and I fancied cooking, and so we decided to make the best of those limited ingredients.
I tried some of those recipe suggestion sites, but they all basically gave up at “lentils”, let alone “butternut squash”, so I decided to throw things together and just hope for the best. Thus, my disclaimer below will be even more relevant than usual…
Disclaimer: I am a proud member of the chuck-it-in-it’ll-be-fine school of cooking. I firmly believe a happy cook just throws stuff in a pan, rather than measuring 18g of this and 3.5 medium egg yolks of that; so take my measurements with a pinch of salt, so to speak. This recipe makes around 2 large rolls, and 2 halves of a stuffed butternut.
Lentil and Garlic Bread
This bread is surprisingly tasty, and very filling. Try not to overdo the lentils, or it will be very heavy.
- Small onion
- At least a hundred cloves of garlic (or maybe just 1-2)
- 70g red lentils
- 250mls vegetable stock
- 300g white bread flour
- 1 packet instant dried yeast
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- Beaten egg
- Fry a bucketload of garlic, with a small onion, very thinly sliced.
- Add the lentils and the vegetable stock, and cook for 10 minutes, until the lentils are soft and cooked, and the vegetable stock has mostly evaporated.
- In a big mixing bowl, add the yeast, salt, sugar and flour. Mix ’em together, then add the lentil-garlic mix, and knead together with hands.
- Keep kneading until you have one big lumpy ball of dough, no longer sticky. You may need to add more flour.
- Chuck it on the worktop with plenty of flour, and knead it and fold it into itself for about 5 minutes – this is to get air into the dough.
- Leave it in the bowl somewhere warm for an hour, with a damp teatowel over the top.
- Start making the Butternut, below. Then you can have a cup of tea, and come back to 8…
- Take it out of the bowl – it should have doubled in size – and knead it a little bit more, rolling it into rolls or small loaves. As you can see in the picture, I made some braided rolls. Leave the rolls to rise for half an hour.
- Whilst this is happening, you can sort out the stuffing for the butternut below…
- Using a pastry brush, paint egg all over the rolls, to give a nice crispy brown shell, and pop the rolls in the oven with the butternut. When the rolls are brown, everything is ready.
Stuffed Butternut Squash
- A butternut squash, obviously
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Vegetables for the stuffing
- Roughly 4 tbsp sugar
- Two slices of bread
- Beaten egg
- A small pile of grated cheese
- Take a butternut (trying not to notice how phallic it is) and cut it in half along its length. Scoop out the seeds and stuff in the hole, then sprinkle it with a little oil, and season like crazy with salt and pepper. Score the top with a big knife in a cross cross pattern – this helps it cook faster, and looks professional too! Chuck it in the oven for about an hour at 190°C (fan oven).
- Whilst that’s cooking, don’t forget to skip up and roll out the bread. Then you can come back here and do step 3…
- Take some mushrooms, onions and peppers (or whatever veg you want – no meat, you murderers). I used about 8 mushrooms, 2 small onions and a pepper – but it can be more depending how big the hole in your squash is. Chop them all into small strips, and fry them with some herbs. Once they are cooked through, add the sugar, and mix until the sugar makes everything go nicely brown (caramelised).
- Gently toast some bread a couple of times, until its rock solid (but not burnt). Crumble the toast up in your hands until its mostly breadcrumbs, and mix it with the egg and grated cheese.
- Take out the slightly browned butternut halves, gloop all the caramelised vegetables into the holes, and cover them with a thick layer of the eggy, bready, cheesey mix. Pop it in the oven for 15-20 mins and Bob’s your caramelised, stuffed and breadcrumbed uncle.
- Don’t forget to finish the rolls above now…