Sunday, February 9, 2014

Butternut Squash & White Bean Stew

I have a confession, I'm a wanna-be food blogger!  I'm a foodie at heart and have long admired many food blogs like The Pioneer Woman & Spoon Fork Bacon and the site I really consider the pinnacle of food porn...Taste Spotting.  Taste spotting is a site dedicated to food porn, a delectable collection of food blogger pictures and each picture clicks you through to the original blog and recipe, I think it was the predecessor of Pinterest although I'm really not sure which came first. 

So many of my favorite bloggers also share their kitchen adventures so I figure I'll join in since I'm always taking pictures of my food. Like I said...I'm just a wanna-be because lets face it, I'm lazy.  Although food styling has always appealed to me, by the time I finish something I want to eat it!  Real food bloggers take spectacular of their dishes and alas...i just have a little digital camera that I use, when I can find it!  Most of the time I'm snapping pictures with my phone camera which takes pretty good pictures but not nearly a good as the fancy pants cameras of the food bloggers. 

A few months ago my office partner in crime and I as well as another co-worker cooked along with a webinar that was part of a wellness program we have on campus.  We cooked this stew and made a salad made with kale and barley with an apple cider vinaigrette.  They were both delightful albeit vegan, which isn't necessarily my thing.  I've made the stew a few times since then but this time decided to add some chicken since I have a hard time getting enough protein in my diet. 

The recipe starts out by thinly slicing one medium onion and sauteing it in a pot with 
3 Tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt (I used about a teaspoon)

 Once the onions begin to caramelize add 5 cloves of minced garlic, and yes...
you really do need 5 cloves, especially if you keep it vegan.

Saute to onions and garlic until the garlic begins to soften a bit but don't let it get too brown, 
then add a can of tomatoes, you could use fresh if you have some.

Add a can of white kidney beans, aka cannellini beans. that have been drained and rinsed.

 Peel, seed and dice a medium butternut squash into 1 inch cubes, 
about 3 1/2 cups of squash and add it to the pot

Add water to cover all the veggies, Since I was adding chicken to this pot of stew 
I actually deglazed the pan I cooked the chicken in (just browned with salt and papper in olive oil) 
with the water to give it a little layer of flavor. 

Another layer of flavor comes from the rind of a slice of parmesean cheese, you know...that hard dense dry piece on the outer edge of the cheese wedge.  You can certainly do without it, but make the extra effort to find a chunk of cheese to cut the rind from, it's worth it.

Bring the stew to a boil then set on low, cover the pot and let it do it's thing for about 
a half an hour or until the squash is tender.

 Once the squash was nice and tender I cut up the two chicken breasts I had cooked 
into kinda large chunks and added them to the pot as well.

I then added 3-4 cups of baby kale (I've used spinach as well) 

Stir the kale into the hot stew until it wilts

To finish off the stew just before serving make a paste with one clove of garlic, a tablespoon of fresh rosemary, freshly ground black pepper and a bit of salt with a tablespoon of olive oil, I used my morter and pestle for this job because lets face many times do I get to drag it out!?

Here is the final result...a nice flavorfull bowl of soup to keep me warm in during these cold winter days. l imagine this is amazing with some good crusty bread but it' not to be for me *sniff sniff*  I'm trying to give up bread too.

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