Pork Stew with Butternut Squash

 Pork Stew with Butternut Squash

 This was the perfect meal for a cool autumn afternoon.  We awoke to a light dusting of snow on the ground (October 10th!), and I spent a good part of the early afternoon splitting and stacking firewood.  Afterward, I could smell this wonderful stew, well, stewing.  On a day like this comfort food is the rule, and this recipe certainly filled the bill.  Butternut squash is a staple in our house, and as you might imagine the flavor melded perfectly with sage and pork loin, red peppers and tomatoes.  An interesting addition was the grated orange peel, whose citrus notes really gave a contrasting spark of flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  pounds  boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1  cup  finely chopped onion
  • 1  cup  finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3/4  cup  finely chopped celery
  • 2  teaspoons  dried rubbed sage
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 4  cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled fresh butternut squash
  • 1  (10-ounce) package frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 2  teaspoons  grated orange rind
  • 4 1/2  cups  cooked egg noodles (about 3 cups uncooked)
  • 6  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add pork; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sage, salt, black pepper, tomatoes, and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in butternut squash and corn; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until pumpkin is tender. Stir in grated rind. Serve over noodles; sprinkle with parsley.

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Coconut-Curry Chicken Soup

coconut-curry-chicken-soup

This terrific soup was created by Tina Washburn, a personal chef from San Diego, and featured in the December 2008 edition of Cooking Light magazine. Our Minnesota night was a balmy 14 degrees, and we found the heat and flavor of this creation to be exactly what we needed. We enjoyed this soup with a crusty nine grain bread from a local bakery, and it was just the ticket to keep us warm and happy. Way to go, Tina!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 pound snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 (5 3/4-ounce) package pad thai noodles (wide rice stick noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 7 lime wedges

Preparation:

1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add spinach and peas to pan; cook for 30 seconds. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add noodles to pan; cook 3 minutes. Drain; add noodles to spinach mixture in bowl.

2. Heat canola oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken, onions, sugar, and fish sauce to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Pour chicken mixture over noodle mixture in bowl. Stir in cilantro and chiles. Serve with lime wedges.