CSA Merrimack Valley: The Winter Harvest ( Part 3 )
In the middle of winter, fresh local farm products can still be had and turned into delicious meals. For the January/February issue of mvm, we present classic recipes using readily available winter ingredients.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH DAL
Start to finish: 1 hour
Stewed lentils are a tradition of Indian and Middle Eastern cooks, and may remind many New Englanders of split pea soup. We may not think of dried beans like lentils when we think of New England farms. However, Baer’s Best in South Hamilton, Mass., produces many outstanding varieties of locally grown beans, which are available all year. ( Read ‘The Bear and the Beanstalk.” )
1 pound dried red lentils
8 cups water
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons turmeric
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 small butternut squash
Sort through the lentils to check for pebbles or debris. Then soak in clean water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the soaked lentils.
Heat a large stockpot over medium heat and add the olive oil and chopped onion. Saute the onion until soft, then add the curry powder and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute. Next, add the rinsed lentils, 8 cups of water and salt. Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
While the lentils cook, heat the oven to 375 F. Peel and dice the butternut squash and remove the seeds. Place the squash on a cookie sheet and coat with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until tender, approximately 30 minutes.
Once the squash is cooked and the lentils are soft, combine the squash with the lentils and add 1 cup of good quality whole milk yogurt. Stir until well combined.
This can be made the day before and reheated. Best served very hot. This is a very satisfying main course for a crowd.
While working for Mill City Grows, Christopher Horne was a FoodCorps service member and taught gardening and cooking classes to Lowell students. In 2017, Christopher graduated from The Farm School’s learn-to-farm program and now runs a half-acre market garden business that offers a small CSA service. He sells his produce to local restaurants in the Merrimack Valley area. Learn more at HorneFarms.com
Marc Horne is a lifelong Lowell resident. He works as a community development professional, developing affordable housing in the Merrimack Valley for nonprofit organizations. Marc also assists his brother, Christopher, with farming operations at Horne Family Farms in any way he can. His personal interests are strongly centered on food and the natural environment, especially cooking family dinners with local agricultural products.