Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Stew

September has flown by!! This month was marked by several “blog-worthy” events, including a race, two vacations and a major room makeover. If only I could find the time to actually write these posts!! For tonight, however, I have an easy entry to share because I made it last fall and have been saving the photos since then. 😆

1203 Curried Butternut Squash Stew

This fantastic one-pot stew dish features curry-roasted morsels of butternut squash, flavorful red lentils, a hearty helping of kale and crumbled Italian sausage.  Sounds like a perfect fall dish, right?!? The curry-coated butternut squash smells amazing when it’s in the oven and the lentils, kale and squash cook down to form a thick, tasty mixture that completely makes you forget that you’re eating healthy food. Well, except for the sausage… but you can also use ground turkey (shown in my photos here from last year) or opt to leave the meat out altogether if you prefer a vegetarian dish.

1216 Curried Butternut Squash Stew

Curried Butternut Squash and Lentil Stew with Kale and Sausage

Serves 4-6; Slightly adapted from HealthyFoodForLiving.com.

Ingredients
For the curried squash…
4 cups cubed Butternut Squash
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Madras Curry Powder
2 teaspoons Garam Masala

For the stew…
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
OPTIONAL: 1 lb. Ground Italian Sausage or Ground Turkey
1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 teaspoons Madras Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
3 cups Chicken Broth (or Vegetable Broth, if going the vegetarian route)
3/4-1 cup Red Lentils
Curried Squash from above
1 bunch Kale, washed, stems, removed, and roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Naan flatbread

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Toss the cubed squash in olive oil and then add several grinds of salt and pepper plus the curry powder and garam masala. Stir well to coat the squash evenly. Spread the squash out in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. The squash cubes are ready when they are just starting to brown on the edges. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in the (optional) crumbled sausage or turkey and saute until cooked through. Transfer the cooked meat to a plate. Add the chopped onion to the leftover oil in the pot (drain off a bit if the meat was very fatty) and saute the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, curry powder and garam masala and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour in the chicken broth and stir in the lentils. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted butternut squash, sausage and chopped kale to the stew and stir to combine. Cook the stew for another 10-15 minutes or until the kale has wilted down. If you have a lot of kale covering the pot will speed up this process! Season with salt and pepper to taste.

1209 Curried Butternut Squash Stew

Serve a hearty portion of curried butternut squash stew with a few slices of naan. Enjoy!

Grilled Paella with Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage

What’s better than serving a one-pot meal to dinner guests? Serving a grilled one-pot meal that’s made entirely outside while your guests relax and drink craft beer on the patio! That’s pretty much how Matt and I spent the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend when we hosted my mom’s birthday dinner. We made grilled Paella with chicken, shrimp and sausage and it was definitely a hit. My mom actually asked for seconds (or maybe that was thirds?) during dinner… that NEVER happens!! 🙂

Dinner Tonight- Paella on the Grill!

This paella looks really fancy, but in reality it’s not too complicated. The entire dish is assembled in a shallow paella pan (like these on Amazon) which is placed directly on a grill, giving you the combination of direct and indirect heat that you would otherwise need both a stovetop and oven to achieve. You do need a few special ingredients like saffron, smoked paprika and Spanish (dry) chorizo, but once you have those on hand the other elements of the dish are very easy to find and prep.

Here are a few pictures from the first time we made Paella a few weeks ago.  For Sunday’s family dinner, we increased the recipe by half and it easily served 6 hungry guests.

Sauting the Tomato Mixture

Sear the chicken thighs and chorizo, then cook the tomato and aromatics over direct heat.

Toasting the Rice

Stir the rice into the tomato mixture to toast it before adding saffron and broth.

Adding the chorizo back into the rice

Add back in the browned chorizo sausage…

Nestle the chicken into the rice

…and “nestle” the chicken thighs into the rice, being careful not to stir the rice mixture.

Adding the shrimp to the pan

To finish the dish, top with shrimp, peas, and peppers and cook until the shrimp are just opaque.

Chicken, Shrimp and Sausage Paella (serves 4; from Williams Sonoma Grill Master)

You will need…
1/4 teaspoon Saffron Threads
4 Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
Salt and Pepper
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7-10 oz. Spanish Chorizo Sausage, sliced (we used Goya Chorizo)
3 Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 cup uncooked short-grain Paella Rice, such as Calasparra
4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
7 oz. jarred Roasted Red Peppers, drained and cut into strips
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
1 lb. 21-25 ct Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Fresh Parsley, chopped, for garnish
4-6 Lemon Wedges, for garnish

Directions:
Place the saffron threads in a small bowl with 2 ounces of hot water and set aside. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken thighs. Preheat a 15-inch Paella pan on the grill over high heat, then add the oil and place the chicken thighs in the pan skin-side down. Sear the thighs, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and add the sliced chorizo to the pan. Saute the chorizo until it starts to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then transfer the chorizo to the platter with the chicken.

Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, thyme and paprika to the pan and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add in the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes until slightly toasted. Add the saffron thread mixture and 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, close the grill, and cook for 10 minutes.

Open the grill and add the reserved chicken thighs and chorizo back in into the rice mixture. Important: do not stir the rice! Use tongs to nestle the chicken thighs into the rice. Add an additional 1 cup of chicken broth, then close the grill again and cook for another 20 minutes.

Open the grill and again, resist the urge to stir! Distribute the shrimp, peas and red peppers over the top of the rice mixture and pour in approximately 1/2 to 1 cup more chicken broth (go with more if the rice looks dry). Close the grill and cook for another 5-7 minutes or just until the shrimp are cooked through.

Remove the paella pan from the grill and garnish with parsley. Arrange the lemon wedges over the dish and serve directly from the pan. Enjoy!!

Grilled Paella

One Pot Pasta with Sausage, Kale and White Beans

This one pot pasta dish with sausage, kale and white beans is hearty, warming and satisfying… perfect for a cold winter night!  Of course, winter is drawing to an end (or it better be, at least!) so I figure I should hurry up and get this recipe up on the blog while we’re all still in the mood to see some comfort food.

One Pot Pasta with Sausage, Kale and White Beans 1

I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of cooking an entire pasta dish in one pot but it wasn’t until a few months ago that Matt and I actually tried this technique for ourselves.  It turns out that there’s nothing particularly hard about making a one pot meal… you simply layer in each ingredient as you go.  First you brown the meat, then throw in the onions and beans, toss in a little garlic, add broth, water and uncooked pasta, then add in your kale in two batches… the first to cook down into the dish and the remainder to add a little bite and pop of color.  Easy!  Thanks to the cooked-down white beans, the resulting dish has a creamy, thick, almost stew-like consistency that is very different from a normal “two pot” recipe where the pasta is cooked separately in boiling water.

Matt and I have been making variations of this pasta almost every week this winter.  Sometimes we use spinach instead of kale or we throw in steamed broccoli along with the greens.  Feel free to change up the meat (hot sausage adds a nice kick) and the pasta… we’ve had delicious results with gemelli, fusilli lunghi, rigatoni and penne.

One Pot Pasta with Sausage, Kale and White Beans  (serves 4; recipe adapted from Cool Spring CSA)

You will need…
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lb. ground Sweet Italian Sausage, ground (remove casings if using normal sausage)
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
2 – 15 oz. cans Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
5-6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
3 cups Chicken Broth
2 cups Water
1 lb. Pasta (we used Gemelli this time)
1 bunch Kale, washed, stems removed, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large (6+ qt.) dutch oven brown the crumbled sausage with 1-2T olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the sausage is cooked through, add the onion and beans and saute, stirring occassionally, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, oregano and red pepper and stir for 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.

Pour in the chicken broth, water, pasta and half of the chopped kale and stir well to combine.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cover with a tightly fitted lid.  Allow the mixture to cook undisturbed for 6 minutes, then layer in the remaining kale on top of the pasta without stirring.  Recover and cook for another 4 minutes.  Remove the lid, stir, and taste test a piece of pasta.  (My favorite part!)

Allow the dish to continue to simmer uncovered for another few minutes until the pasta is cooked to your desired consistency.  Remove from heat, stir in the cheese, drizzle in a tablespoon or so of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve and enjoy!

One Pot Pasta with Sausage, Kale and White Beans 2