Winter squashes are at the supermarket! This Mexican-inspired stew was a nice opportunity for me to try calabaza for the first time, a pumpkin-like squash available in Mexican and Latin food stores. If you can't find it, try butternut squash.
First, cut 1/2 a pound of poblano chiles (about 2 or 3, depending how big they are) in half, and discard the seeds and membranes. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and flatten with the palm of your hand. The original recipe said to broil them for 5 minutes, but I wish I had let mine broil a little longer, in retrospect, as you want the skins to be nice and blackened. Place in zip-top plastic bags for 15 minutes once out of the oven, then the skins should peel off easily. Peel, chop, and set aside.
Finely grind 1/2 a teaspoon of anise seed and 1 (one-and-a-half-inch) cinnamon stick using the method of your choice - sure, you could use a spice or coffee grinder, but I love my mortar and pestle for tasks like this. Set aside.
Heat 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of peanut oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 and 3/4 cups chopped onion and saute 5 minutes. Add 1 garlic clove and saute for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon mixture, and saute 1 minute.
Add the chopped chiles, 5 cups of peeled and cubed calabaza squash, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 cup water, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar (in place of honey), and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. The squash will deepen in color and become delectably tender as it cooks.
As a note, the original recipe said to cut the squash into 2-inch pieces, but this seemed awfully big to me for a soup, so I made the executive decision of smaller, 1-inch cubes.
Ladle 1 and 1/2 cups of stew into each of 4 bowls. Top each serving with 2 teaspoons of vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream) in place of Crema Mexicana, and with 1 tablespoon of pumpkinseed kernels. Roast the pumpkinseeds for even better flavor, or if you don't want to take the 25 minutes or so to do that, toast them a couple of minutes in a skillet, as I did.
Each bowl of stew is 270 calories.
poblano chiles $1.52
calabaza squash $2.05
pumpkinseed kernels $3.49
The Vegan Pantry
- Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
- Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
- Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
- Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
- Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
- Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html