Cheesy Butternut Polenta with Roasted Broccoli and Cabbage

IMG_20191015_192615364 (3)This dish has serious mac and cheese vibes, but with a bit of a makeover. Roasted brassicas (including broccoli, cabbage, broccolini, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts), really shine here, because their slight bitterness is a great counterpoint to the cheesy and slightly sweet polenta. I used broccoli and cabbage because I had both, but you could double up on broccoli or mix it up with different brassicas. It is a great vegetarian main on its own, but could be bulked up with a fried egg, beans, roasted chicken, or sausage.

My entire Potter Hill CSA share this week was broccoli, leeks, salad mix, pea tendrils, perpetual spinach, potatoes, onions, acorn squash, and butternut squash. I used the pea tendrils and perpetual spinach to make these rice bowls from a few weeks ago. Leeks and potatoes went on this pizza, where I subbed sauteed leeks for the onion and used savory from a few weeks ago instead of the rosemary.  Your squash could also be used for my absolute favorite butternut soup with coconut milk. Either (or both) squash would be excellent in this bright fall salad.

Cheesy Butternut Polenta with Roasted Broccoli and Cabbage

Adapted from Dinner.

Serves 4.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces peeled and seeded butternut squash, grated (3 cups)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb broccoli (1 large head or 3-4 small heads)
  • 12 ounces cabbage (about 1/4 head)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh ricotta, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Melt the butter in the bottom of a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add in the grated butternut squash, and saute for 5-8 minutes, until it starts to brown. Remove butternut squash from the pot, and add in water, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, and whisk in polenta and butternut squash. Stir regularly while keeping at a low bubble for 30-40 minutes. The polenta should be completely soft, with no hard grainy bits or raw corn taste.

Chop the broccoli crown, stem, and leaves (if attached) into 1/2 inch pieces (peel the stem first if the outside is tough). Toss on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Chop the cabbage into 1/2″ pieces, and toss on a second baking sheet with the remaining tablespoon oil and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. It’s ok if some layers of the cabbage stick together while others separate. This will make for a nice mix of soft and crispy bits. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until browned at the edges, tossing vegetables and rotating pans halfway through.

When the polenta is cooked add the parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper. Serve polenta with roasted vegetables on top and a dollop of ricotta.

Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

IMG_20181101_122925192For most of my life I was anti-squash soup. I found the texture off-putting, and I didn’t care for the flavor enough to try to overcome that aversion. But five years ago Molly Wizenberg introduced me to this soup. It isn’t a Pumpkin Spice Latte in soup form. It has rich coconut milk to provide a velvety texture without the need for a high powered blender. Instead of cinnamon or another official fall spice, it has curry powder to bring additional warmth, fish sauce for salty funk, and lime juice for the hit of acid so many squash soups are missing. It was the potential I tasted every time I had a spoonful of lackluster soup before this.

I’ve made it so many times I felt it deserved a spot here. I’ve made a few changes from Molly’s, mainly that I always double it because that means I can use a whole squash and a whole quart of broth. It is perfect for freezing in individual portions and grabbing on those days when you need an emergency lunch because maybe you went out for pizza the night before instead of cooking (like I did this week).

It is nearing the end of our CSA season, which means it is time to stock up the ole root cellar! But in reality I live in an apartment on the top floor of a classic Worcester triple decker so there is no cellar to speak of. If you are in a similar situation, you can still store winter crops for quite a while. The share this week was carrots, chard, butternut, potatoes, and onions. I store the carrots in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of my fridge and they will last for months there. Butternut stores well in a dark, dry place but should not be refrigerated (unless it is cut). Potatoes and onions should be stored in complete darkness, separately if possible because the gas from onions encourages potatoes to sprout (as I learned here). Potatoes do best in a paper bag and onions prefer the open air (I keep them in those wood boxes clementines come in).

If you do want to cook with your veg from this week right away, then you can do that too! Before I found this soup, Ottolenghi was the first one to truly show me the merits of butternut squash. This recipe with tahini and za’atar and this recipe with yogurt and chili are both great. I’m going classic this week and making a roasted chicken with roasted potatoes. I’ve also been using the potatoes for a quick breakfast hash with whatever else I have around, like broccoli and onions (egg on top required).

Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

I put a range for the squash size because they can be so variable. No need to do something silly like use a squash a half (unless you already have a plan for the other half). Just know that the bigger your squash is, the thicker and heartier the soup will be.

  •  3 tablespoons coconut oil (you can also use vegetable or olive oil)
  •  2 cups of chopped onion (this was one medium onion and 2 small ones for me)
  •  6 garlic cloves, minced
  •  2 tablespoons curry powder
  •  1 large butternut squash (about 3-4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  •  2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  •  4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  •  2 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  •  2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce, plus more for serving
  •  Lime wedges, for serving

In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more, until it is fragrant. Add the curry powder and cook for another minute. Add in the squash, broth, coconut milk, maple syrup, fish sauce, and Sriracha. Turn the heat up to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes (until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork).

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or, you can use a blender and puree it in batches). Serve with extra Sriracha and lime wedges.

A Vegetable Filled Tortilla Casserole

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I always struggle with the change of seasons. I feel like I’ve just gotten into my groove in the last season when the new one is upon us. But what about all the eggplant and tomatoes I still need to eat?! The warm nights when I sit on my porch and watch the sunset while the kids across the street debate who should be “It”? Reading for hours on the beach, but stopping to walk out as far as possible at low tide and eating lobster rolls? But, I do truly love each and every season. I suppose I can embrace sleeping better during cooler nights, welcoming the added heat roasting and simmering brings into the kitchen, and the wonder that is fall squash (but get the f*$# away from me with your pumpkin spice lattes and cinnamon-sugar rimmed beers) .

This is really a great point in the season, because there are some summer vegetables hanging on while the fall vegetables start to trickle in. This is the point when you actually want to turn on the oven and make roasted tomato and eggplant soup, the idea of which seemed like a hilarious joke at points this summer. Or you can embrace the fall vegetables entirely, and make this easily adaptable tortilla casserole with kale and butternut squash.

This week my share was onions, yellow potatoes, lacinato kale, salad turnips, French radishes, spicy lettuce mix, mint, parsley, eggplant, jalapeños, and butternut squash. I cooked up some Short Creek tsuga sausage, then removed it from the pan and cooked diced radishes and turnips followed by their greens in the delightful drippings, and then served the whole lot over polenta with pecorino (then we ate the leftovers for breakfast with an egg on top and HOT DAMN). The lettuce went into some end-of-season BLTs. Eggplant and cherry tomatoes (from last week) went into a simple roasted dish with haloumi from Smitten Kitchen Every Day Potatoes, parsley, and a leek leftover from last week went into this sheet pan harissa chicken which may be the absolute highest calling for Paul’s potatoes. If you didn’t get around to it last week, you could pickle some onions and jalapeños to top this casserole (or tacos, burritos, chilaquiles, etc).

I used butternut and kale from my share as the main vegetables for this casserole, but it is easily adaptable. You could use corn and spinach as called for in the original recipe, zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes, peppers, or whatever else pleases you.

Vegetable Tortilla Casserole

Adapted from Jennifer Farley via Cup of Jo

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 medium onion (mine was ~1 cup when chopped)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, or salsa (maybe dial back the spices if you’re using salsa)
  • 3 1/2 cups black or pinto beans (or a mix), rinsed and drained (2 15-ounce cans, or 1 double can)
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 large corn tortillas, or 14 small taco tortillas
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese or both
  • Accouterments: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fresh jalapeño, sour cream or plain yogurt, salsa, pickled jalapeño, pickled onion

Preheat your oven to 400F. Peel, deseed, and chop your butternut into 1″ pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 20 minutes, toss, and roast for another 10 minutes. You should easily be able to pierce the butternut with a fork.

Dice your onion, mince the garlic clove, and thinly slice the kale. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, and cook until it is translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute more, until it is fragrant. Add the spices and stir so the onion and garlic and coated in them, and then add the kale. Toss until the kale is wilted, then add the beans and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes so the flavors can combine. If it looks a little dry, add 1/4 cup of water.

Make your casserole by greasing a 9″x13″ dish (I used 1 teaspoon olive oil). Add a spoonful each of the tomato mixture and roasted butternut squash so the bottom of the pan is mostly covered. Add a layer or tortillas (I cut some in half to evenly fill the dish), then top with more of the tomato mixture (about 1/4), a large spoonful of the roasted butternut, and a sprinkle of cheese. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with a the tomato mixture, butternut, and cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve with a variety of accouterments for topping.

 

All the, Squash Things

20141016_181510I was a latecomer to the winter squash club. It wasn’t a veg I grew up eating often, and then the versions often presented to me played up the sweet, warmth of squash which is fine but often flat tasting. It wasn’t until I started volunteering in a garden and joined a CSA and had squash of many varieties forced on me, that I had to work to figure out a way I would like to eat them. With so much natural sweetness, I found I much prefer something sour or spicy to brighten the flavor, and thankfully many others feel this way too. Here is a whole host of recipes I’ve enjoyed and a few I’m planning to try to elevate your squash game.

Thai Laksa

Thai Laksa

Made:

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (from their cookbook, Jerusalem) – Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onion with Tahini and Za’atar: Leave it to Ottolenghi to turn me around. This is the recipe that made me into a true squash lover, and it’s dead simple.

Orangette – Winter Squash Soup with Curry and Coconut Milk: Squash soups often have a weird grainy texture that bothers me, but this one with coconut milk is silky smooth and so good.

Jamie Oliver – Thai Chicken Laksa: I didn’t like the texture of the soup with the grated squash (sensing a theme?) so I blended it before I added the noodles, and used collards instead of asparagus (chicken definitely not necessary, and I left out the bouillon entirely).

Mark Bittman – Winter Squash Curry: Definitely use the coconut milk (as 3 of these 4 recipes include it, you can deduce squash + coconut milk = magic), serve over brown rice, and finish with lots of cilantro, scallions, and lime wedges. I ended up adding a little spice with cayenne after the fact as well.

To make:

The Yellow House – Sweet and Sour Delicata Squash

Smitten Kitchen – Fall-toush Salad

How Sweet Eats – Spicy Roasted Squash with Feta and Herbs

Ottolenghi via Food 52 – Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chile

Any other squash recipes to add?