Thursday, January 10, 2013

Warming Winter Stew

Not too long ago James went to an afternoon party at our neighbors, cattle and sheep ranchers and avid gardeners. As he started the car to come home he noticed not just a dozen multi-colored eggs but several winter squash had found their way inside the car. James wasn't quite sure what to do with his new found loot.
I love butternut, pumpkin, acorn - - all kinds of winter squash. These beautiful hubbards and tromboncinos are great just roasted on in a simple soup but I thought I go a little further. Tooling around the internet I found a recipe for Moroccan winter stew from Bruce Aidells. I figure if meat lover and expert Aidells can present a vegetarian dinner it might just be good enough for my James. I started by sautéing a chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic in olive oil. I seasoned that mixture with 2 tsp of paprika and 1/2 tsp each of cumin, coriander, chili powder, ginger, turmeric, a tsp of salt and a pinch of saffron. I added one small can of tomatoes (from our backyard garden), 1 cup of water, and the juice of one small lemon and brought the liquid to a boil. Into the pot went about 3 cups of cubed butternut squash along with several carrots and parsnips (I just happen to have them) peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces. After 20 minutes simmering (covered) over medium-low heat the vegetables were tender and the stew was ready to serve.
Aidells serves his stew (or rather the recipe he created along with chef wife Nancy Oakes) over flavorful quinoa. I'd used all my carrots and felt ready to finish chopping so I took a shortcut and ladled James's winter stew of fluffy, buttery couscous seasoned (and colored) with turmeric. A sprinkle of chopped mint hinted at the recipe's Moroccan theme.

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