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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cardamom-Roasted Red Kuri Squash with Marinated Limes and Black Chickpeas

I love squash season.
It makes me happy.
I also love that you can eat the skin.
I just discovered this.  When it is well roasted, most squashes skin is edible, and even quite enjoyable!
Since this discovery, I've making a squash dish once a week.  Actually, I had already been making weekly squash dishes, but this makes it so much more exciting for me.  No tough peeling!
Lucky for me, there is a whole chapter on Squash in Ottolenghi's Plenty.  This one is mostly his recipe, but I added some sweetly spiced black chickpeas and some quinoa to make it a filling meal.  If those are left out, this can be an appetizer.

Plenty, page 65
Serves 4

Roasted Squash:
1 red kuri or butternut squash, seeded and sliced int 1-1.5 cm thick slices, skin on
2 Tbsp cardamom pods, powdered with a mortar and pestle, pods removed
1 tsp allspice
3 Tbsp olive oil
few pinches fleur de sel

Marinated lime:
2 limes
1 Tbsp olive oil
pinch fleur de sel

Tahini Yogurt Sauce:
1 greek or plain yogurt
1 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp water

2 sliced green chiles
handful chopped cilantro
crumbled feta

Black chickpeas (not from Plenty, this is my own thing):
1 cup dry black chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 star anis
2 black cardamom
1 green cardamom
1 bag black tea
2 dried red chiles
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 Tej Petta (Indian bay leaf)
1 tsp salt
6 cups water

1.  Place all the "Black chickpeas" ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for at least 7 hours.  This is very hands off.  If you don't have a slow cooker, cook in a pressure cooker under pressure for 15 minutes, opening only after cooling.  Otherwise, simmer stovetop for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  This is why I love my crockpot.
2.  Whenever you feel ready, preheat the oven to 210°C 410°F.  In a small dish, mix the powdered cardamom, allspice, olive oil, and salt together.  Brush this mixture onto the squash slices and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cook this for 20 minutes or until tender when poked.  This doesn't need to be served piping hot.  It's actually better warm.
3.  While that is happening, make the marinated lime.  Trim off the tops and tails of the limes, stand them on a cutting board, and cut the skin off following the natural curve of the fruit.  This should remove most of the bitter white part as well.  Then quarter the limes from top to bottom and cut each quarter into 1-2 mm slices.  Place these slices in a small bowl with the olive oil and fleur de sel.  Set aside.
4.  Make the tahini-yogurt sauce.  Whisk together the yogurt, tahini, and lime juice.  The tahini should tense up, but then relax.  Add water as you stir.  If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water. You should be able to pour it.

To serve, I put some quinoa and some of the drained black chickpeas in the plate, then arrange some of the roasted squash slices over it all, spoon some of the lime slices with their juices, and scatter the garnish of sliced fresh green chiles, cilantro, and feta.

This seems like so much, but really is hands-off except for the sauces and lime.  The oven and crockpot do most of the work.  The stove-top only had quinoa going, and the rest was just lingering cooking time.
I like using the full potential of my equipment.  It makes all the "hard work" looking types of meals like this one so effortless, but so beautiful.  The textures of all the combination of elements is surprising with each bite.  This is hands down state of the art.  I would have dedicated a chapter of my life to squash as well.  As would any brilliant person.
There is something about that orange color....

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