Despite the calendar saying that it is June and we should be sipping G&T out on the patio while eating a light salad, we are instead getting blown around by gale force winds and soaked in thunderous showers. So instead of that light salad here is a warming rice dish to keep the cold of this British summer at bay. Serves 3.
1 Butternut Squash (peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks)
225g Rice (long grain - I use a mix of white and wild rice but brown would work as well)
1 large onion sliced into half moons
1 thumb sized chunk of ginger peeled and sliced into matchsticks
2 cloves garlic cut into slivers
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 large handful of green lentils
3 tsp cumin seeds
5 cardamom pods lightly crushed
6 cherry tomatoes halved
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
Handful of chopped coriander
Spread the chopped squash in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the ground spices. Shake to cover and bake in a medium-hot oven (160C) for 20 or so minutes, shaking half way through.
Meanwhile fry the onion in a large casserole with a little oil until it starts to colour and then add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, cloves. Fry briefly and then add the rice and lentils. Stir again to coat everything with the oil then add the stock and bring to the boil.
Put the lid on the casserole and stick it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Take the rice from the oven and stir in the roasted squash and the halved tomatoes. Put the lid back on and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the rice and lentils are cooked and the liquid has all evaporated.
Serve with yoghurt and mango chutney.
This could also be served as a side dish to accompany some pan fried chicken breasts, a vegetable curry or some spiced fish fillets.