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Autumnal butternut squash stew in Austria

October 2, 2018
We recently spent the day driving through Austria and oh my! It’s so beautiful. The mountains sing, and the sun is bright, but the chill air inspired me to make something warm, filling and autumnal. So this is butternut squash and pearl barley stew with walnut bread croutons. It is so delicious, vegan, and can be made in one pan (although frying the croutons does make it two).
Ingredients (feeds 4 – or does us for two meals):
1x red onion, chunked
2x cloves garlic, minced
half punnet of mushrooms, chunked
1x butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into dice-sized chunks
1 tbls dried oregano
500ml veg stock
3x large handfuls of pearl barley (rinsed)
4x thick slices of stale bread (we used a particularly tough Swiss bread), cut into dice-sized chunks
sunflower oil
olive oil
large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
lemon juice
In a large copper-based pan (that has a lid) put sunflower oil, onion, mushrooms & butternut squash. Fry until mushrooms are soft adding a little water any time the pan gets dry. Add garlic & herbs and stir for one minute. add veg stock and pearl barley, bring to boil then put lid on, turn down heat and simmer until pearl barley is soft and plump and squash is cooked right through and soft. Near the end of this put olive oil in a good cast iron frying pan, add bread cubes and salt and crisp (turning occasionally).

In a bowl put 1/4 of the stew add 1/4 of the croutons & parsley and juice from 1/4 lemon, stir together adding salt & pepper if needed. Yum. I’ll definitely use this bread for croutons again. To be honest, when we bought it it was like a brick and it only really works sliced thinly and pan-fried BUT now we know it works for these sorts of dishes we’ll be buying it a LOT more as it gives a meaty texture to the meal (even though it’s totally plant-based).

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