This autumnal tray bake of roast squash with lentils is a quick and simple supper that both looks and tastes amazing. The fresh sage leaves and ground mace are the perfect pairings for the squash; the lemon and herb-dressed lentils add texture, protein, and acidity. I think that mace is a very underrated spice; it comes from the lacy orange outer coating of the nutmeg seed, and if you don’t have any in your store cupboard it’s well worth getting some in. It transforms squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, soups made with yellow split peas, cakes, and curries so it’s very versatile. I buy it whole and grind it when I need it as the flavour is much better that way. You can make this as a vegetarian dish but we like it with sausages, chorizo for preference; a bit of crusty bread on the side to mop up the oil and juices from the chorizo sausages is a nice addition too.
- 1 medium butternut squash or a small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, and cut into half-moons about 1cm thick
- 2 medium onions, red or white – peeled and cut into 8 wedges
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of rapeseed or light olive oil
- A handful of fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon of ground mace
- 100g Puy lentils, rinsed in cold water (they don’t need overnight soaking and cook very quickly)
- 1 dessertspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon – juice and zest
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated
- 1 pinch of salt
- A pinch of smoked paprika
- A large handful of curly parsley, finely chopped
- 100g feta ( I have used blue cheese too but I find it too rich, feta is much nicer)
- 8 sausages – I used 2 packs of Unearthed smoked cooking chorizo
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Put the butternut squash slices and the onion into a large mixing bowl with a tablespoon and a half of oil, the mace, chopped sage, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and plenty of ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly and then spread it all out evenly onto a lightly greased large rectangular baking tray ( I have a good heavyweight one that doesn’t buckle in the heat and also goes from oven to table which saves on the washing up). Tuck the sausages in amongst the vegetable pieces. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes until cooked and caramelized on the edges. Remove when cooked and set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Add the lentils and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked. Drain and set aside to cool. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, paprika, a pinch of salt and the extra-virgin olive oil and mix thoroughly.
- To serve (use the roasting tray or transfer everything to a platter), scatter the lentils over the roasted squash and sausages and then crumble the feta on top.
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