Welcome Winter Squash!

by Elizabeth Thompson

When Jennie told me that the season’s first winter squash is ready for our kitchens and imaginations, I was excited. Winter squash has long been a favorite of mine – its versatility, its taste, its heralding of cozy Autumn memories – all make it a favorite in my kitchen and imagination. Here are a couple of recipe to stir your imagination, put more than just your winter squash to use, and welcome a bit of Autumn into your kitchen, even if the air doesn’t yet have that Autumn lightness. We can dream, knowing it is really just around the corner.

Both recipes were inspired by the blog 101cookbooks.com.

Adzuki Bean and Squash Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon (dried) coriander

2 teaspoons finely hot pepper

2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt

2 medium-large onions

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups butternut (or similar) squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

5 – 6 cups water

5 whole, medium sized tomatoes, chopped

4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle and salt and saute for a minute or two – until aromatic. Add the onions and saute another 5 minutes or so, until they start to go translucent. Add the garlic and squash, stir well, and then add 5 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a few minutes, until the squash begins to soften – 5 – 10 minutes.

Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash

1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) beans (you can use any, but cannellini, Great Northern or pinto are preferable)

~1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) winter squash

olive oil

~ 4 ounces fresh greens (like those amaranth leaves)

2 tablespoons butter

medium onion, chopped

2 – 4 jalapenos or chiles, halved, seeded, and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 pound of fresh tomatoes (preferably plum), chopped, or 14-ounce can

2 teaspoons paprika

1 ounce of almonds, dark roasted and finely ground

2 ounces dark 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces

salt

Preheat oven to 350F

Cut the squash flesh into good-sized chunks, about 3/4-inch squares, place in a roasting pan and

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toss with olive oil. Roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes until caramelized on the outside but still firm. Reduce the oven temperature to 250F. Alternately, you can brown the squash in a skillet.

Cut the greens into 3/4-inch slices. Melt the butter into an oven-proof casserole dish (pot) and fry the onion and jalapenos/chilies gently over a low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until caramelized. Add the garlic and fry for three minutes more. Add the tomatoes and paprika, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the ground almonds, chocolate, squash, beans, kale, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Cover the casserole and put it in the oven to cook gently for 2 hours.

Serve with tortillas, polenta or mashed potatoes.

Serves 4

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