Warming Recipes from Wiltshire magazine

Spiced Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup

A beautiful autumnal soup made with creamy, sweet squash and  wholesome lentils enhanced by warming spices

Serves 6 as a starter or 4 for lunch

Ingredients2 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cubed1 medium onion, finely diced olive oil2 cloves of garlic salt and black pepper 100g red split lentils 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp all spice ½tsp ground cumin 2 pints chicken stock 

1 Pour a generous glug of olive oil into a large saucepan and put on a medium heat. add the diced onion, the garlic and all the spices, season generously with salt and black pepper.2 Sizzle the onion with the spices until soft then tip in the squash. Continue to cook over a medium heat (adding more oil if it starts to stick) for about 10 minutes until the squash is softening and colouring around the edges. 3 Tip the lentils into the pan then pour in the chicken stock. bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the lentils aren’t sticking to the bottom.4 after this time the butternut squash should be meltingly soft. you can now either blend the soup (I find a stick/hand blender useful here) or, if you like a bit more texture, use a potato masher. Taste and season with more salt and black pepper if needed.5 To serve, a blob of crème fraiche and a handful of croutons finish the soup off perfectly.

Beef Stew with  a Parmesan and  Polenta Crust

This wonderfully warming beef stew  with a cheesy crunchy topping is perfect for cold, windy days.

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Serves 4

Ingredients600g braising beef (chuck works well), cut into large piecesplain flour 3 medium red onions, cut into eighths 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced olive oil salt and black pepper 1 tsp Pimenton (smoked sweet paprika) large pinch of brown sugar 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks 750ml beef stock (a stock cube is fine) 500g carton passata 1 tbsp dark soy sauce several splashes Worcestershire sauce 2 bay leaves pinch of chilli flakes (optional)For the crust 75g fresh breadcrumbs 75g dry polenta (maize meal) 4 tbsp olive oil 4 tbsp water 75g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 Toss the cubes of beef in a bowl of flour that has been seasoned with salt and pepper until they are all coated. Preheat the oven to 125C (fan).2 Pour a generous glug of olive oil into a frying pan and put on a high heat. When hot, tip in the onions and let them sizzle vigorously. While they are cooking, add a generous seasoning of salt and black pepper then add the Pimenton and the brown sugar. after a few more minutes add the garlic, cook for a further minute then remove from the heat. Transfer the onions to a large ovenproof casserole dish and return the frying pan to the hob.3 brown the floured beef in the frying pan on a high heat (you may need some more oil), probably in two batches unless you have a very large frying pan. When sealed and browned, tip into the casserole dish.4 Returning the pan once again to the hob, pour in the beef stock, passata, dark soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and bring to the boil. Pour this into the casserole along with any tasty bits at the bottom of the pan.5 Put the carrots and the bay leaves into the casserole dish with the chilli flakes (if using) and give it all a big stir. Cover and put into the oven for 2 hours.6 after this time, uncover and stir the stew. Turn the oven up to 150C and put back in for another hour.7 To make the crust, mix the breadcrumbs and polenta together then add the olive oil and the water. add the Parmesan along with salt and pepper then mix to combine.  8 Take the stew out of the oven and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top, put back in the oven for 30 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden brown with the stew bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.