Thursday, February 7, 2013

Butternut Squash, Quinoa, Kale Stew

 A friend of ours is coming home from the hospital and I started thinking about feeding that family while they are regrouping. Looking around my kitchen, I saw the butternut squash that I had bought but had not yet used. It's time had come.  But what to do with it that would offer solid protein, many micronutrients and other nutrition to help them get through the night. The weather prediction is for a snow storm and I wouldn't mind a little heat in the kitchen.  A stew could offer complexity of flavors but simplicity in its preparation. This is what happened!

Butternut Squash, Quinoa, Kale Stew

1 medium large Butternut Squash straight part cut into chunks (about 3 cups worth)
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 cup quinoa
6-10 cloves of garlic, smashed and rough chopped
10 medium mushrooms cut in quarters
10-12 lacinato kale leaves - stripped from stems and torn
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and rough chopped (peelings are okay)
1 large parsnip, peeled quartered and chopped thickly
1 can black beans

 1. Wash, peel, chop everything into the size pieces you like best. Strip the kale leaves off the stem, tearing it into strips or pieces - use lacinato if you can find it.
2. Start with a little water, 1-1/2 cup, in the bottom of a good casserole pot - cast iron enamelware is great for this. Begin on top of the stove with onions, garlic and celery in the water until they begin to soften.
3.  Add the quinoa  and stir it in for a minute, then add salt, pepper,  squash, potato, mushrooms, parsnips and all the other vegetables with the rest of the water, at least 2.5 cups, tucking the kale leaves down into the mix so it gets into the water. Save out the parsley and black beans to add in a few minutes before serving. If you can stay stay on the stove top, covered, simmering, then you want to stir occasionally. This cooks to nearly ready in 20 minutes. You can turn this off before minutes and let it sit for hours, adding the parsley and black beans and heating for 10 minutes before serving. You can also begin on top of the stove and put it covered in a 350 oven for the 20 minutes, checking it at least once. You will  also want to gauge when the root vegetables are softening, but not losing their shape, and then stir in the parsley and black beans for the last few minutes. Oven could take a little longer.

This keeps well and freezes well. Add any spices or herbs to the onion/celery/garlic stage that you like. Please understand that this can be made with a few red pepper flakes, or a dash of cayenne or curry and be an entirely different story!  For that matter, you can add carrots, pieces of coconut and figs, or tomatoes and green peppers to create many variations. The quinoa could be replaced with farro,  or you can make it without grain in it and serve it like a sauce over any whole grain or a whole grain pasta!
Serves 6-8 as a main dish, but can easily be extended by adding pasta, side dishes like broiled tofu, any salad, or even a light soup.

Butternut Quinoa Kale Stew
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 Serving (475g) figuring on 6 main servings
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs. courtesy of using data supplied by me.

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