French Lentils, Roasted Butternut Squash, Smoked Chicken Chorizo and a Drizzle of Pomegranate Molasses by Foodie’s Chef Laura Brennan


November 30, 2020


I’m still thinking about dishes that I can bring/share to our pot-luck Thanksgiving.  I think this works as a substantial side dish…and could play a supporting role in the after-the-feast-turkey-sandwich tradition!!

(Pomegranate Molasses is a syrup-like reduction of pomegranate juice.  It is both sharp and sweet and will lend a bright note to the earthiness and smokiness of the dish.)


  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yields: 6-8 as a side dish


½ to ¾ pound diced butternut squash, from the ‘neck-end’ of the squash

6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons smoked paprika, sweet or hot, divided

½ cup diced onions

¼ cup diced celery

1 package (12 ounces) pre-cooked, smoked chicken chorizo links, divided

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

12 ounces, (1 ½ cups) French green or black Beluga lentils

4-6 cups cold water, divided

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 to 1 ½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses

3- ‘handfuls’ baby arugula, washed & dried


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prep the squash. I used a 2-pound butternut squash. I washed, dried it and divided the squash into 2 pieces: the ‘neck’ end and the ‘bulb’ end. (Save the ‘bulb’ end for another cooking project—squash soup or puree of squash, for example.)

Carefully cut off the top and peel the squash ‘neck’. Cut it in half right through the middle; that is; through the circumference. Slice each piece into ¼-inch slices or ‘planks’. Cut each ‘plank’ into ¼-inch sticks(‘baton’) and then cut each stick into ¼-inch small dice.

You have now diced a vegetable ‘Cordon-Blue style’.

Add the diced squash (you should have about 2-cups) to a bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Toss and/or stir to combine. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast in pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender when pierced with the point of a knife. When tender, let squash cool on the sheet pan for 10-15 minutes without disturbing them.

Prep the chicken chorizo. Open the package and pat-dry the sausages if necessary. Cut each sausage link in half length-wise. Dice one half-piece of sausage to cook with the lentils. Lightly coat the rest of the half-pieces (7 pieces now) and grill or heat through in the oven on a sheet pan. Set aside. (Optional: Cut pieces in half on the diagonal after grilling or roasting.)

Cook the lentils. Rinse the lentils under cold running water in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan, add the diced onions, celery and diced chicken chorizo sausage from above. Stir to combine. Add pinch salt and turn heat to low. Cover the pan and let vegetables and diced sausage cook until softened and fragrant---this will take about 5-8 minutes.

By keeping the heat low and the pan covered, the onions, celery and sausage will soften slowly and exude their juices into the pot. Remove the cover and stir in the chopped garlic, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika. Stir to combine all ingredients. Add the rinsed lentils and add 4 cups of cold water. Add another ½ teaspoon of salt and another ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika. Raise heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let lentils cook gently at low heat until tender and water has been absorbed. Check often. Add more water if necessary…..but only a ½ cup at a time.

Cook until lentils are tender. This will take 25-35 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning—add more salt or smoked paprika to your taste. When cooked, re-move pot from heat, re-cover and let the lentils sit for 10 minutes. To absorb excess moisture.

To serve: Chose a festive bowl or serving platter. It is a HOLIDAY, after all! In a separate bowl, drizzle the arugula with a bit of olive oil and line the bottom of the platter with the dressed greens. Spoon the cooked lentils on top of the greens. Sprinkle with the cooked dice of butternut squash. (Re-heat briefly if necessary.) Scatter the re-heated sausage pieces around the lentils. (Re-heat briefly if necessary.) Drizzle the pomegranate molasses evenly over the top of everything.

A few twists of fresh cracked black pepper over the top would not be out of place!