Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

In his cookbook "Vegan Soul Kitchen,"author Bryant Terry not only featured some kick-ass recipes, but also accompanied each one with a music suggestion. In the same way, contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood was inspired recently by the music of his beloved New Orleans.

Local winter squash are plentiful these days, another reminder that what we called summer this year is definitely over. While I love the sweetness of delicatas, and the obscure heirloom varieties have their charms, plain old butternut remains my favorite. The smooth skin comes off nicely with a swivel peeler, the seeds are fewer and easy to get at, and they offer more edible flesh per pound than most other winter squash.

I usually make zucca agrodule, an Italian style sweet and sour technique that’s easy and delicious. But I’d been listening to the Rebirth Brass Band (left) and was feeling New Orleans, so I experimented a little. The results were good, even better with some red beans and rice alongside.

Cajun Butternut Squash

Chop an onion and start cooking it in extra virgin olive oil. Add a couple of stalks of diced celery and a diced green pepper. If you like a little heat, add a diced jalapeno, too. Toss in a little salt and cook for abut 10 minutes.

While that’s cooking, peel, seed and cube a butternut squash. You want pieces about a half inch square, but don’t worry about perfection. I peel the squash, split it lengthwise, scoop put the seeds, then lay it cut side down and slice. Stack a few slices at a time and cut them into roughly square chunks.

Add the squash to pan and sprinkle with a generous dose of your favorite Cajun spice blend (or make one with roughly equal parts of black pepper and paprika, about half as much thyme, and chili powder to your heat tolerance). Cook this for 15 minutes over medium heat, then pour in some Katz Gravenstein apple cider vinegar (maybe 1/4 cup). Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.


Dime Store Foodie said...

Sounds delicious, I wouldn't ever think to turn butternut squash into something cajun. After spending some time in New Orleans I definately miss the yummy cajun flavors you get there, not to mention the great music!

Becky said...

okra, Cajun food, Rebirth Jazz Band... Have you lived in the big easy? I did for several years. I was born in Baton Rouge. YUM! I have tons of winter squash from our garden. May have to try this one...

SEH said...

That butternut looks familiar...

Kathleen Bauer said...

I agree, Dimestore…there are certain combinations of flavors that ring my chimes, and Cajun is definitely one. Thanks to Jim for bringing that one home!

And Becky, I'll ask Jim if he's got any Big Easy in his background.

As for where I get my photos, SEH, that's a trade secret!

Let me know if you try the recipe, and how it turns out!