Lentils With Kale and Butternut Squash

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
Olive oil, as needed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup lentils
1 1/2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, diced small
1 rib celery, diced small
1/2 onion, peeled and diced small
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1/2 pound chopped kale, about 6 cups
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

Heat oven to 450 F. Peel and seed the squash and cut it into roughly 3/4-inch dice. Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil and mound squash in center. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper; mix well. Roast squash in preheated oven until tender enough to be pierced with a sharp knife, for about 15 minutes.

Place the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Season generously with salt and bring just to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until lentils are tender but firm, for about 20 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Stir in the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

While lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion and red-pepper flakes; cook until onion and celery are translucent, for about 5 minutes. Rinse the kale under water and add it, still dripping, to skillet in heaping handfuls. Add the minced garlic and salt to taste; stir to mix well.

Cover pan, leaving lid ajar, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is very soft, dark and frazzled-looking, for about 30 minutes. It should be very sweet.

Stir lentils into cooked kale, taste and adjust seasoning for salt, pepper and vinegar. Gently stir in about 2 cups roasted squash before serving. Makes 6 servings.


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