One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about this new commitment to cooking is discovering vegetables I’ve never tried before, like kabocha squash. After making the recipe below I had about, hmm, three quarters of a squash left, so I cubed it, tossed it with a generous amount of olive oil, fresh ground pepper, and salt, spread the cubes on a jelly roll pan, and baked them for 20 or so minutes in a 425F oven. ¡Muy pero muy delicioso!
I already knew that I like fennel*, and in a savory-sweet combination with citrus I think the taste is both exotic and bright. If you don’t count cubing the squash (I used a cleaver to whack it into pieces I could actually work with), this dish is both simple and fairly quick to make. It reheats well.
Kabocha Squash with Fennel Over Quinoa
from Cooking Light, November/December 1997
2 t. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 t. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 c. cubed peeled kabocha or other winter squash
1 c. plus 2 T. chopped fennel bulb, divided
1 1/2 t. sugar
dash of salt
1/4 t. fennel seeds
3/4 c. orange juice
1 c. quinoa (THE ORIGINAL RECIPE CALLED FOR COUSCOUS)
2 T. fennel fronds
1/2 t. grated orange rind
1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Add squash, 1 c. fennel bulb, sugar, dash of salt, and fennel seeds; cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook 5 minutes. Add juice and 1/4 c. water; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered 15 minutes.
2. Bring 2 c. water and 1 c. quinoa to boil in a medium saucepan, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir in 2 T. fennel bulb, chopped fennel fronds, and grated orange rind. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
* If you’ve eaten at an Indian restaurant, you may have been offered a post-meal spoonful of candy-coated fennel seeds. And did you wonder why? It’s because, in the words of Wikipedia, “fennel is widely employed … both in humans and in veterinary medicine (e.g., dogs), to treat flatulence by encouraging the expulsion of intestinal gas.” Now you know.