Butternuts are here, people! They came with the end of the summer, all shiny and brimming with sweet, juicy and healthy inside. I’m always amazed how they grow in my parent’s garden – needing care next to little – they just spread their vines and leaves frolicly untill the bright pumpkins finally show up to our delite.
Only thing that my father strongly disliked about butternut was their promiscuity. Yes, I wrote that word. Haha! Blame it on the bees, said I, you could have imagined that might happen if you planted different pumpkins around! So cousined with other, bigger pumpkins, his little butternuts weren’t so little any more. But hey, who cares! More butternuts for us!
Butternuts proved to be real treasure. It was the first solid baby food for my little one. Oh, how he enjoyed his little orange soups! I thought he would get tired of it but no! And I was happy to have had such great, organic produce for him to cook.
How do you like your butternuts? I often make soup, with pumpkins cooked or even baked. Some times I bake wedges in the oven, among some carrots and potatoes. Sometimes I put it in a stew or pottage. Or make a jam. Or thousands other ways I’m sure you also know about.
Because autumn is all about pumpkins, I think. The colour of it, the scent, the feeling.
What does autumn feels like for you?
Now this is one of those recipes which really isn’t a recipe in terms it’s versatility. Meaning you can adjust the ingredients and thickness of this pottage yourself. For this pottage I used young beans that have been previously boiled for a few mins, drained and then cooked with everything else. You can use canned, already cooked beans and put them in the pottage at the end of the cooking, simply because they don’t need to cook and you don’t want them mushed into a mush. Or you do, anything goes.
The same goes for lentils. I used red lentils that have been previously cooked. Somehow, I like to cook lentils separately because of all that foam during cooking and I like to wash and drain them and then add to the dish. But you can cook it all toghether, nothing bad will happen. Even more, slightly overcooked lentils will give the pottage nice thickness and viscosity.
If you don’t like or simply don’t have lentils at hand, you can use potatoes. They will nicely fall apart and give a nice creaminess to the dish.
That said, a little moment of truth: this dish was really just thrown together intuitively. Read: I used whatever I had. Main role was given to the butternut and the rest just came along. Butternuts are happy players!
Butternut pottage! Warming, hearthy and healthy dish packed with autumn essence of tastes and scents!
- 3 cup butternut, diced
- 1 onion, small, sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 cup red lentils
- 2 cup cooked beans
- 1 cup seitan, diced or sliced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- olicw oil, water, chilly, garam masala, powdered garlic, or other seasonings to your taste
Prepare everything you need.
Wash and drain lentils thoroughly. Cook them in plenty of water for about 20 minutes or till they fall apart between your fingers. Drain, set aside.
If you don't have already cooked beans: if you have young beans, cook them till they are soft, for 30 minutes or so. Drain, wash, set aside. If you have dry beans, cook them as you usually would or you can just use canned beans.
Peel, seed and dice the butternut. Set aside.
Slice the onion thinly.
Cook the onions on few tbsps of oil till it's translucent. Add butternut and young beans (canned can be added later simply because they are cooked) and pour just enough water to cover. Cook with the lid on, on medium heat for 15 - 20 mins or till the butternut is soft. Add more water if needed.
Add pretty much everything else to the pot: beans (if using precooked), lentils, seitan, soy sauce and other spices to your taste. Cook for another 10ish minutes or till everything gets all warmed up nicely and spices and tastes blend together. If you want, add more water.
Sprinkle with some sesame or other seeds and/or some fresh herbs on top. Serve hot with some fresh bread. Or whatever you feel like 🙂 some cooked polenta, maybe? Or pasta? Or croutons? Or just with a spoon? 😉
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