PHOTOGRAPHY, LAUREN VANDENBROOK
Canadian food phenom Mary Berg is taking the fear out of food prep in her upcoming book, In Mary’s Kitchen (due in October). Mary, who says her kitchen is her happy place, wants to make your kitchen stress-free, too. This delish recipe should do the trick!
CURRIED LENTIL STUFFED SQUASH
- 2 acorn squashes, halved lengthwise
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup brown lentils
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 green apple, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 3 1/2 (to 5) oz crumbled feta
Preheat oven to 400°F and place the acorn squash halves in a baking dish, cut side up.
Drizzle the flesh with about 1 tablespoon of the oil, followed by the maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash, until fork tender.
Meanwhile, rinse lentils in a fine-mesh sieve, inspecting for any bad lentils or debris. Transfer them to a saucepan; add vegetable broth. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cover pot with a lid, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the lentils, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
While the lentils cook, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and apple, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender and lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and curry powder, cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, then stir in the lemon juice, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any burned-on bits. Stir in the spinach and transfer into the lentil bowl.
Add the cranberries, apricots, walnuts, cilantro and parsley and mix well to combine.
Divide the mixture into the roasted acorn squash halves and scatter with the feta. Drizzle the top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and bake until the feta is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.