Red Kuri and Chestnut Purée with Browned Butter - The Clean Gourmet

Red Kuri and Chestnut Purée with Browned Butter

Just three harmonious ingredients and a little technique make this deceptively simple side seem extra sophisticated.  Chestnuts enhance the nutty flavor of red kuri squash and toasty browned butter adds notes of burnt marshmallow to the lusciously smooth purée.  A perfect pairing for holiday roasts.

img_6337

This was actually my first time cooking with red kuri squash.  I’ve known about it for a few years, but have always gotten distracted by other winter squash varieties to try.  I didn’t know what to do with it until I roasted it and tasted the squash on its own.  Oh my goodness…  Sweet and nutty with a creamy texture, I almost ate it plain for dessert.  That said, if you can’t find red kuri squash, I would use half of a kabocha and half of a butternut to substitute.

img_6352

Browned butter sounds fancy, but it’s actually very simple and should be a part of everyone’s culinary repertoire.  Just melt butter (high quality, pastured butter) in a saucepan over a medium/low flame and just keep going until it turns caramel in color and fragrance.  Next, be ready to remove promptly from the heat so it doesn’t burn!

In this recipe, the warm butter poured over the chestnuts will help them to break down for puréeing.  Which, speaking of, I prefer to use a Vitamix for, as nothing compares to the smoothing capabilities of a good high speed blender.  It takes a little coaxing with the tamper and perhaps a hit of water, but I think it’s worth the effort.  Otherwise, a food processor will do just fine.

Red Kuri and Chestnut Purée with Browned Butter

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

1 medium red kuri squash, halved and deseeded (be sure to get all the stringy bits out)

3 ounces roasted and peeled chestnuts (about 1 cup)

4 tablespoons butter (preferably pastured)

3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Place squash halves on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut sides down.  Bake until a fork can pierce the skin without much resistance, about 50 minutes.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape flesh from skin into a bowl (if you get some skin in there, don’t worry too much.  It’s generally edible.)

Place chestnuts in a Vitamix or food processor and set aside.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium/low heat and simmer until it begins to brown and release toasty caramel aroma.  Immediately remove from heat and pour into blender or food processor with the chestnuts.   Pulse to break down the chestnuts.  Add cooked red kuri flesh and salt.  Process (be sure to have that tamper handy if using a Vitamix) until very smooth.  Feel free to add a bit of warm water to aid in this process.  Adjust for salt and serve immediately or at room temperature.

 

 


Saffron and Ginger Kabocha Soup with Black Salt and Sesame Seeds

I made this when I was visiting family in California and found some fun ingredients in the pantry.  Stuff like crystallized ginger, this World Salt Tower and black sesame seeds.  Not to mention an excellent spice selection and hyper local produce from New Leaf Community Market in Half Moon Bay.

Warm and hearty, this soup tastes like a decadent cream soup, but is actually more of a detox soup in that there is no dairy, little oil and is lightly spiced.  You’ll also get lots of carotenoids (great for the eye health) from the squash and extra minerals from the black Cyprus salt, which is Mediterranean sea salt mixed with volcanic charcoal, a natural detoxifier.

Serves 6

What you need:

1 kabocha squash (about 2.5 pounds), halved and deseeded

2 teaspoons olive oil or avocado oil

1/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch chunks

1 stalk celery, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 small (4-inch diameter) celeriac (a.k.a. celery root), peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

3 cups chicken broth or light vegetable stock

pinch saffron

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

To serve:

crystallized ginger, very fine dice

black sesame seeds

black Cyprus salt

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Rub kabocha flesh with olive oil or avocado oil and place cut sides down on parchment.  Pour orange juice into pan and place in oven.  Roast for about 45 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces through the skin and flesh.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a medium sauce pot, sauté the ginger, onion, celery and garlic in the coconut oil, along with the salt, over medium heat.  Stir frequently to prevent browning.  Once the onions are translucent, add the celeriac, broth, saffron and remaining spices.  Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and add to the soup.  Raise heat to high, bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Ensure that the celeriac is fork tender and turn off the heat.  If time permits, allow to cool 10-15 minutes.  Put contents in blender, working in batches if your blender is small, and blend on high (though starting at LOW) until silky smooth.  Return to pot and rewarm over low heat, adding water if necessary.  Adjust for salt, keeping in mind that you will be topping with black salt just before serving.

To serve, ladle soup into warmed bowls and top with crystallized ginger (they will sink), black sesame seeds and a few flakes of black Cyprus salt.


Mushroom and Tempeh-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cider Glaze

I love fall.  I mean, look at it:

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cider Glaze - The Clean Gourmet

This is the first east coast fall I’ve had in six years, so I’ve been especially excited to cook with the seasons and have stocked up on various winter squashes from the local orchard.

This recipe might have more ingredients than the average person will cook with on a Wednesday night, but I highly recommend it for a healthy Sunday dinner.  The five-grain tempeh and mushrooms take the place of meat in this stuffing and the cider not only helps cook the squash, but creates a nice autumnal glaze.  Also, feel free to reduce the amount of rice to 1/2 cup (uncooked) if you’re carbohydrate paranoid.

I served this with a salad comprised of: red romaine, orange bell pepper, jicama, red onion, pomegranate and feta with balsamic-mustard vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

For the squash:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 acorn squashes, halved and seeds removed

2/3 cup apple cider

For the stuffing:

1 cup brown/wild rice mix, cooked in 2 cups light vegetable or chicken broth

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 packages 5-grain tempeh, crumbled

1/4 cup sage leaves, minced (or 1/2 tsp dried ground)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1/4 tsp dried ground)

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 bunch kale, destemmed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup parsley, minced

1/3 cup apple cider

1/3 cup raw pecan halves, roughly crumbled

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

salt and pepper

What to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pour olive oil and apple cider in the bottom of a high-lipped pan or baking dish.  Arrange squash cut side down and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the rice in the broth and begin to make the vegetable-tempeh mixture.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook for about one minute.  Just as the garlic begins to brown, add mushrooms.  Stir a few times, but allow time in between stirs for the mushrooms to brown.

After about two minutes, add the celery, tempeh, sage and thyme.  Brown for about a minute, add wine (or broth) and cook for another three minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

Add kale, parsley and apple cider.  Cover again and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and mix in the cooked rice, pecans, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust for herbs and spices, adding more, if needed.

Take squash out of oven and flip, cavity side up.  Stuff generously with vegetable-tempeh mixture and serve immediately with a generous helping of fresh salad.

….Oh and meet my east coast dog:

Oreo


Minted Zucchini Soup (Vellutata di Zucchini alla Menta)

This is a very quick and easy soup that’s also oil free.  I usually have it warm, but it’s also great chilled on a hot summer day.

What you need:

4 zucchini

2 shallots, roughly chopped

½ yellow onion, roughly chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves

5 oz fresh baby spinach (about 4 handfuls)

Juice from 1 lemon

1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to serve

goat cheese or yogurt (not 0%), to serve

torn mint, to serve

What to do:

Throw zucchini, shallots, onion and broth into a pot and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, turn heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are soft.

Stir in mint leaves, spinach, lemon, salt and pepper.  Purée in blender or with an immersion blender.  Adjust lemon, salt and pepper.

Serve immediately and top with goat cheese or yogurt, pepper and a sprinkling of torn mint.  (Great cold too!)

Vellutata di Zucchini alla Menta:

Cosa Serve:

4 zucchini

2 scalogni, spezzettati

½ cipolla gialla, spezzettata

4 tazze di brodo di cipolla o di verdura

1 manciata piccola di menta fresca

4 manciate di spinaci freschi

succo di 1 limone

1/2 – 1 cucchiaino di sale

1/4 cucchiaino di pepe nero

formaggio di capra o yogurt intero, per servire

menta fresca strappata, per servire

Come Fare:

Mettete zucchini, scalogni, cipolla e brodo in una pentola e fate bollire.   Quando bollente, abbassate la fiamma e fate cuocere finché siano cotte le verdure.

Serve immediately and top with goat cheese or yogurt, pepper and a sprinkling of chopped mint.

Aggiungete la menta, gli spinaci, il limone, il sale e il pepe.  Frullate tutto nel mixer e aggiustate il limone, il sale e il pepe.

Servite immediatamente e metteteci sopra una cucchiaiata di formaggio di capra o di yogurt, un pizzico di pepe e un pò di menta strappata.  (Buonissima anche fredda!)

Downloadable/Printable Version