Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mushroom, Butternut Squash, and Lima Bean Stew

Some dishes are doorways, marking the passage of time from one season to another. It isn't summer until I've had a roasted rainbow salad. Spring is officially here when, and only when, I've stuffed an artichoke, and winter arrives with the fist batch of brown sugar cookies or the first bowl of thick, steamy cassoulet.

And fall? This stew is the herald of fall.

(Insert loud slurping noise.)

If you've never tried kale before, this is a great way to start. Kale is sturdy enough to be mixed into a stew without turning into clumps of green mush, and cooking it mellows out the slightly bitter flavor.

An excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, and yuppie credentials.

 Brothy, hearty, savory with a hint of sweet, this is the kind of soup that takes cold, rainy days and turns them into a pleasure. Pairs nicely with a grilled Havarti sandwich.

Mushroom, Butternut Squash, and Lima Bean Stew

From Whole Living


1 cup dried lima beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
16 oz. mushrooms*
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you're me)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch kale (8 oz.), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced (6 cups)
Kosher salt
*The original recipe calls for 8 ounces of shitake mushrooms and 8 ounces of Portobello mushrooms. I'm sure that's great, but since I can't always find shitake, I often substitute cremini or even white button in a pinch.


Soak beans overnight in water. Drain.
Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium flame. Add onions and garlic. Cook until tender, 6 to 8 minutes; transfer to a bowl.
Turn heat to medium high. Heat the other tablespoon of oil. Working in batches, add mushrooms; cook until golden brown. Transfer to bowl and add more oil to cook remaining mushrooms.

 Return mushrooms and onions to pot and add squash, beans, bay leaf, and stock. Season with pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover partially. Cook until beans are just tender, about 50 to 60 minutes.
Stir in kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Season with salt. Like all soups, this sucker is even better if you let it sit and percolate for a day. Makes about 10 cups.

Fall is so on. Now I just need an ascot and some decorative gourds.