Saturday, December 18, 2010

Squash it to me

Squash stew 2

As you can probably guess by the content of most of my recipes, I’m a committed and wholly unrepentant carnivore. I grew up in a meat and potatoes household and, like many North Americans, I never came close to hitting the recommended allotment of vegetables growing up. Part of it was the lack of availability of fresh vegetables at the time and a large part of it was my own extreme pickiness.

I’m a lot better at eating my veggies than I used to be. I always make sure I have something green or root-y on my plate or close to it.  Sometimes — and this is a big deal — I even cook vegetarian mains. And enjoy them. Don't get me wrong: I'm not about to run off and join those pricks at PETA, but there's nothing like filling your stomach while filling yourself with a sense of smug satisfaction at the same time.

I had this recipe for a spicy, Tex-Mex style vegetable stew bookmarked in Rose Murray’s wonderful cookbook “A Taste of Canada” for a long time. It looked delicious, but seemed quite fussy for such a simple dish. Well, winter rolled in and I decided to try it, but, like Old Blue Eyes said, I did it my way. The shortcuts and additions I made didn’t seem to hurt the flavour: it’s smoky and heartwarming. A feel-good meal in every sense, one I’d make again, though I still don’t see this stuff replacing steak anytime soon.

Squash and bean stew with chipotle cream (adapted from Rose Murray’s A Taste of Canada)
Makes about 6-8 servings

2 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion chopped
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 poblano pepper, seeded sliced
1 red chili, chopped
2 tablespoons chilli powder
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes)
1 28 ounce can of tomatoes, undrained
½ cup water
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
¾ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotles in adobo

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or pot. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent.

Reduce heat and add garlic, cumin, salt, chili powder and cinnamon and cook for one minute.

Add peppers and chopped chili and cook for five minutes, stirring frequently.

Add cubed squash and stir to coat with spice mixture. Chop the tomatoes in the can with a knife or scissors, than add to pan along with their juices along with enough water to mostly cover the squash pieces. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, scraping bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat, cover and cook until squash is fork tender, 25-30 minutes.

Uncover, add black beans and cook five minutes. Meanwhile, mix sour cream and chipotles in a bowl and set aside.

Season stew with salt and pepper and serve in bowls topped with a dollop of the chipotle cream.

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