|Contrast in Color, Flavor, and Texture|
Kabocha Squash and Collard Greens, Recipe by Robin
Let’s wrap up 2012 with a favorite winter recipe that relies on contrasts. Pairing sweet, dense, and soft kabocha squash with strong, chewy, and sour collard greens, this is perfect food for saying goodbye to 2012, filled as it was with both ease and challenge. The recipe was inspired by a potluck dish I had years ago. The cook would only disclose that she used red kabocha squash, known in some countries as Japanese pumpkin. It’s drier than most winter squash, so benefits from cooking in sauce or stews. Green kabocha is also available, but you’ll have to peel it to get the color contrast. Though this is a vegetarian dish, my recent foray into the bacon world has inspired me to add a with-bacon option.
|Just Three Basic Ingredients|
|Remove Ends and Crusty Spots|
|Squashing the Squash before Adding the Greens,|
Next Time I Won't Bother to Peel It
Thank you readers, for a wonderful 2012. Enjoy the final hours of the year and Happy 2013 to you and yours.
serves ~ 10
1 large red kabocha squash (~3 lbs.)
1 tsp. butter
2 tsp. (packed) brown sugar
~3/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
1 cup chicken or veggie broth (for squash)
1 leek, or 4 hefty green onions
1 – 2 bunches collard greens
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chicken or veggie broth (for greens)
1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
½ tsp. grey salt
~8 grinds black pepper
1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash kabocha squash. Cut squash in half from top to bottom using cleaver and rubber mallet. Remove seeds and fibrous membranes. Cut off stem and blossom ends. Microplane or peel off any fibrous brownish spots.
Soften butter in the microwave, or semi-melt it on stovetop. Brush onto the inside cavity of the squash. Press brown sugar firmly on top of butter. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
Place squash cut-side-up in 9” x 13” baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then turn squash cut-side-down and add 1 cup broth. Continue baking until soft enough to press kabocha halves down flat into baking dish with large spoon, about 15 – 30 minutes, depending upon age and thickness of the squash.
Meanwhile, make the greens. Cut root end and tough green parts off leeks. Slice in half lengthwise and wash off dirt between leaves. Slice each half-round leek into ¼ inch slices. If using large green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces. Wash collard greens and remove stems if over 3/8” thick, or if they seem old or tough. Chop greens into 2-inch pieces, and stems into about ½ inch pieces.
Heat olive oil on medium in a large skillet or electricfrying pan (325 degrees). Add leeks and sauté for 2 minutes. Add chopped collard greens, broth, lemon juice, and grey salt (omit the latter if using bacon). Grind black pepper over all. Cover and cook down, stirring up from the bottom every 5 minutes, until greens are dull in color and somewhat tender (check stems). This will take about 15 – 20 minutes.
When both squash and greens are tender, remove squash from oven. Flatten squash by pressing down with large spoon or paddle. Arrange greens and their liquid over the top of the squash so that the surface looks both orange and green.