The earthy flavour of lentils combined with the sweetness of pumpkin.
There are few truly vegetarian recipes in Moroccan cooking, but this is one of them, and a delicious and nutritious one at that. The earthy flavour of lentils combines with the sweetness of pumpkin, the flavours melding with traditional herbs and spices.
- 275 g (10 oz/ 1 1/2 cups) green lentils
- 2 tomatoes
- 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) firm pumpkin (winter squash) or butternut pumpkin (squash)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1 teaspoon harissa
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 teaspoons tomato paste (concentrated purée)
- 1/2 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
Pick over the lentils and discard any damaged ones and any stones. Put the lentils in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Tip into a saucepan and add 1 litre (35 fl oz/ 4 cups) of cold water. Bring to the boil, skim the surface if necessary, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes crossways. Squeeze out the seeds and coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl down to the skin, discarding the skin. Set the grated tomato aside. Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into 3 cm (1 1/4 in) dice. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic, cook for a few seconds, then stir in the cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper or harissa.
Cook for 30 seconds, then add the paprika, grated tomato, tomato paste, sugar, half of the parsley and coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Add the lentils and pumpkin and stir well. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin and lentils are tender. Adjust the seasoning and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and coriander and serve hot or warm with crusty bread.
The Little Moroccan Cookbook
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