Friday, November 12, 2010
Slow-Cooker Squash Stew
I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but during the week I work and Bart has off, Bart usually chooses a variety of recipes to make for dinner. I love that he does this--not only because he cooks the meals himself, but because he chooses recipes that I'm quite sure I would not have chosen. This recipe is such a case. I thought the recipe looked like it would taste okay--but nothing special. How wrong I was! This stew has an amazing texture and flavor! We all absolutely loved it. I just had some leftovers for lunch today, and, wow! It is fabulous. This is the first time we have cooked dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas). We found them at Winco in the bulk food section. Definitely use dried beans as the recipe indicates--the consistency of the stew is perfect this way. Also, we had a huge parmesan rind (we buy our parmesan wedges from Costco), and the parmesan flavor was so incredible that we didn't even have to add extra parmesan on top when we served it. The squash is meltingly tender when done.
Slow-Cooker Squash Stew
Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, rinsed
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into large pieces (Bart cut it into bite-size pieces--he used one whole squash--we didn't weigh how much it was)
1 bunch Swiss chard, leaves and stems separated and roughly chopped
1 piece parmesan cheese rind, plus grated parmesan for topping (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Crusty bread and/or lemon wedges, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup water, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a 6-quart slow cooker.
Add the chickpeas, squash, chard stems (not the leaves), the parmesan rind, if using, 2 teaspoons salt and 7 cups water to the slow cooker. Stir, then cover and cook on low, 8 hours.
Just before serving, lift the lid and stir in the chard leaves; cover and continue cooking 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to slightly break up the squash. Discard the Parmesan rind, if used. Ladle the stew into bowls; top with the grated parmesan, if desired, and serve with bread and/or lemon wedges.