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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Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Zucchini and Goat Cheese

chicken-breasts-stuffed-with-zucchini-and-goat-cheese

The late summer feel of zucchini combined with the rich flavor of goat cheese were a great match for a bone-in breast of chicken and a coating of Herbs de Provence. This recipe was another winner from “A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash” by Lou Seibert Pappas. We paired this chicken with an easy rice pilaf and a delicious Hogue Riesling, and we likened it to an upscale bit of comfort food on a cold, January evening here in Minnesota.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb zucchini
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp minced, flat-leaf  (Italian) parsley
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 12 oz each)
  • Herbes de Provence for sprinkling

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Shred the zucchini, sprinkle with salt, wrap in paper towels, and let stand for 15 minutes.  Squeeze the zucchini dry.  In a  large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil, add the onion, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes; remove from the heat and let cool.

In a small bowl, beat together the goat cheese and butter until blended.  Add the egg and beat until smooth.  Mix in the zucchini, onion, parsley and cheese.

Using your fingers, loosen the skin from the chicken breasts, leaving one side attached, and force the zucchini stuffing underneath the skin of each breast.  Brush each stuffed breast with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with the herbes de Provence.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve at once.

NOTE:  The recipe in the book also offers a griling option, but at the moment we have a sheet of ice on the grill, so we’re in no hurry to get it going.  Roasting in the oven worked very well.  We made sure not to call it finished until the skin had turned crispy, with a golden brown color.  The meat was tender and juicy, while the skin was crispy and the stuffing delicious.

Tortellini with Butternut Squash, Artichoke Hearts and Pecorino

 

tortellini-with-butternut-squash-artichoke-hearts-and-pecorino

Butternut squash and artichoke hearts, steamed to tender perfection and then tossed with cherry tomatoes, olive oil and pecorino freshly grated Romano cheese.  Topped with toasted pine nuts, this was a perfect meal for a January evening. 

This recipe came from the book “A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash” by Lou Seibert Pappas, which was a gift to Cath from her sister, Peg.  It was the first recipe we’ve tried from the book, and we agreed it was a tremendous success.

Assembling the ingredients was easy, and the preparation was as simple as tossing and serving.  We enjoyed this as a part of our own “Dinner and A Movie” night at home, and at times it was hard to concentrate on the dialogue, as we were continuously ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the many wonderful flavors.  Each bite seemed to bring a little something different, and we did our best to savor every one.

Although it wasn’t stated in the recipe, the artichoke hearts and Pecorino Romano cheese spoke of Italian cuisine to us, so we paired it with a 2007 Santa Cristina Antinori and we were very pleased.  I have a good feeling that I’ll be blogging quite a few meals from this fantastic book!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces tortellini (we used a three cheese tortellini)
  • 1 lb butternut squash
  • 1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, but into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or pistachios (we used pine nuts, but pistachios sound very interesting!)

Preparation:

Bring a large-saucepan three-fourths full of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the tortellini and cook until al-dente, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the squash in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Peel away the skin, and cut into 3/8-inch dice.

Drain the pasta and turn out into a warmed bowl.  Add the squash, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, oil and cheese.  Toss to mix, and sprinkle with the nuts.  Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate until serving time. 

(NOTE:  We served this freshly tossed and warm, and I can’t imagine doing otherwise.  The warmth of the pasta and squash brought out the flavors in the artichokes and tomatoes, and that’s my recommendation.  Try it and tell me what you think!)

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots

This meal is one of those autumn wonders from Cooking Light Magazine we go back to every time butternut squash comes into season.  The flavors are perfect for an autumn evening, with the squash and brown sugar and olive oil providing a vivid contrast for the freshly ground pepper and parmesan cheese.  We paired this with a Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel, and the combination was amazing.  This is really quite simple to prepare, but I highly recommend it when the leaves have turned and there is a crisp little bite in the air.  It’s amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 4 ounces uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta) or fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 475°.

 

Combine the squash, sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons oil, salt, pepper, and shallots in a jelly roll pan; toss well. Bake at 475° for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sage.

 

While the squash mixture bakes, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place cooked pasta in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil; toss well. Serve the squash mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.

 

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup pasta, 3/4 cup squash mixture, and 1

tablespoon cheese)

 

CALORIES 248 (29% from fat); FAT 7.9g (sat 2g,mono 4.5g,poly 0.8g); IRON 1.4mg;

CHOLESTEROL 5mg; CALCIUM 137mg; CARBOHYDRATE 39.4g; SODIUM 713mg; PROTEIN 7.1g; FIBER 5.2g