This delicious, filling, vegetarian stew combines winter squash, beans, peppers, and onions with interesting seasonings such as cocoa, cinnamon, and cumin. If you’d like to add meat, use cooked sausage, bacon, or high-quality ground beef pork, chicken, or turkey.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions (any color) (chopped)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon powdered cocoa
3 to 4 plump garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
4 peppers (mixed kinds for desired color and heat) (trimmed, seeded and minced)
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 cups Water
1 (2-pound) winter squash (pumpkin, acorn, butternut, delicata) (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
In your favorite stewpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and cocoa for 5 minutes until the onions are tender, stirring frequently.
Add the garlic and peppers; cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chili powder and water; lower the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add the squash and lime juice. Cover and lower the heat for a polite simmer, and stew slowly until the squash is very tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes.
Adjust the seasonings. Fold in the beans and warm everything through for about 5 minutes.
Garnish and serve warm with cornbread or tortillas.
Cook’s Tips and Tricks: If the raw squash is particularly pesky about giving up its treasure, roast it halved, face down, for about 15 minutes in a 375ºF oven. This releases the shell a bit without thoroughly cooking the flesh. You can also add a few raisins and walnuts to the beans for sweet, nutty intrigue.
—From Picked at the Peak by Deborah DeBord, Ph.D.
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