Spiced Winter Squash with Fennel

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

-Peel 1 winter squash (about 2 pounds total).

-Halve lengthwise, seed and then cut into ¾ inch wide wedges.

-Cut 1-2 fennel bulbs in half the long way.

-Chop into 1.5 inch wedges.

-Combine squash and fennel on a large baking sheet.

-Add 3 TBS olive oil and toss to coat.

-In a small bowl, mix the following together:

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp turmeric

-Blend the spice mixture then sprinkle evenly over the vegetables and toss to coat.  

-Sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper.

-Roast until vegetables are tender and browned, turning every 15 minutes for 30 minutes.

-Cut the ends off of 1 leek then slit in half the long way.

-Clean well between the layers, then chop each leek into half inch moon shapped pieces.

-Pull the tray out, stir in the chopped leek and then roast for another 15 minutes until the squash is nicely browned.

Lentils with Winter Squash and Walnuts

-Preheat your oven to 425. 
-Peel, halve and scoop the seeds out of 1 pound of winter squash. 
-Cut the squash into ½ inch pieces.
-In a shallow baking dish, toss the squash with 2 TBS olive oil, 1½ tsp curry powder and salt and pepper to taste.
-Bake 10 minutes, then add 1 chopped leek.
-Bake for another 10 minutes and then sprinkle the squash with ½ cup chopped walnuts and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until walnuts are toasted and squash is tender.
-While squash is baking, cook ½ cup lentils in some boiling water until just tender, about 20 minutes.
-Drain lentils and transfer to a bowl.
-Add squash mixture to lentils, along with 3 TBS fresh cilantro or parsley and some fresh lime juice to taste. 
-Toss until well combined. 
-Top with yogurt and serve with basmati rice.


Jeweled Basmati Rice with Winter Squash and Currants from Moro East

-Soak 1½ cups of basmati rice in warm salted water for 1 hour.

-Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

-Peel 1 winter squash and cut it into 1 inch pieces.

-Toss the winter squash with 2 TBS olive oil and ½ tsp sea salt.

-Spread it in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.

-In a heat safe bowl mix a big pinch (about 50 strands) of saffron with 3 TBS boiling water.

-Add in 2 TBS unsalted butter, which should melt. Set the saffron aside.

-Thinly slice and dice 1 fennel bulb or 4 stalks of celery.

-Heat 4 TBS unsalted butter in a medium saucepan.

-Add in the following:

A 6 cm piece of cinnamon stick

4 crushed allspice berries

-Then add the fennel/celery and ½ tsp sea salt.

-Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the onion is soft.

-Add the following:

1 TBS currants

¼ cup shelled/unsalted pistachios

½ tsp ground cardamom

-Cook for 10 minutes more.

-Drain the rice and add it to the pan.

-Stir together for a minute or two.

-Pour in 2¼ cups stock and stir well.

-Scatter the roasted squash on top of the rice.

-Cover with a circle of parchment paper, then cover with a tight fitting lid.

-Cook over high heat until boiling, then reduce heat and cook another 5-10 minutes until rice is tender.

-Remove paper and drizzle with the buttery saffron water.

-Replace the lid and leave to rest off the heat for 5-10 minutes.