Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Persian Braised Squash

It's cold.

It's dark.

It's time for comfort food.

No doubt we all define comfort food differently. Today, the comfort food I want is something with rich flavors, maybe sweet and savory, heavy on the carbs, perhaps a hearty winter stew.

I look around the kitchen. I notice I have quite a few squashes sitting patiently on the windowsill. I survey my cookbooks and remember an excellent recipe for Persian braised squash from one of my favorites, Silk Road Cooking, a great source of ideas for fortifying winter meals.

I thought I'd share the recipe with you, because it is divinely tasty and no hassle except for peeling the squash, a task I find tedious but might not bother others.

Start out with a squash (you'll need 2 pounds worth):

Before peeling it, procrastinate for 20 mintues trying to take "interesting" photos of the squash:

When you've finished, and have resigned yourself to the task at hand, peel the squash and cut it into 2-inch cubes, like this:

With that task out of the way, you can coast for the rest of the recipe.

Now, slice 2 small onions very thinly. My knives are dull so I wasn't able to get these as thin as I'd like (need to get a sharpener!!), but you get the idea.
Any recipe is vastly improved if you use loved cooking implements. I'm thinking of my red Le Creuset dutch oven which I use for nearly everything. It was actually Scott's red Le Creuset dutch oven when I first met him 9 years ago. I remember being impressed that a single man who didn't cook much had such a thing in his apartment. It was one of many subtle things that cemented him in my mind as The One. Another was the wide variety of spa/beauty products in his bathroom--but that's for another day. Here's the pot:

Now, put a few tablespoons of oil (I use olive) in the pot and turn up the heat.
When it's hot, throw in 3 whole cloves and a 3 inch cinnamon stick. Stir. Heat for about 10 seconds.

Now, add the onion and squash.

Let the onion and squash cook for about 15 mintues until everything starts to brown. In the meantime, have a glass of wine.

After 15 min, add 1 1/2 C vegetable stock, 1 C pitted prunes, 2 tablespoons sugar (I prefer brown) the juice from one lime, and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil, and then cover and lower heat. Simmer for about 20 more minutes until the squash is tender. It will get very thick, much more so than the following photo.

I'm serving this with brown basmati & wild rice and a simple spinach salad.

Too bad Scott doesn't get home for another couple hours.

1 comment:

Jasmine said...

Yum! Bravissima!

I made your chicken marballa again yesterday and spent the whole meal remarking on how tasty it was, and how easy to do. Despite my self congratulatory tone throughout the meal (Marco got tired of it and even corrected me that it wasn't that good...) I knew deep down I had your homemaker talent to thank.

Tonight, squash!