Friday, March 14, 2014

Squash & Root Vegetable Casserole

Don't you just love the color and variety of root vegetables? From a deep purple potato to the warm orange rutabaga, dark red or golden yellow beetroot, warm white celeriac and parsnip. It is vegetable time!

This Squash & Root Vegetable Casserole is open to interpretation. In fact, so is the name: I've called variations of this dish "curry" and "tajine", depending on the spice mix I used, and pan I cooked it in. Choose your own favorite squash and root vegetables. I use acorn squash here, but made it before with butternut squash (my favorite squash, with its warm color, rich flavor and velvet texture). You can add coconut milk if you like.

Squash & Root Vegetable Casserole 
6-7 different squash/root vegetables: I used 1/2 acorn squash, 2 parsnip roots, 1 medium yellow beetroot, 1/2 medium celeriac, 1 turnip, 1 rutabaga, all cut in relatively same size chunks.
1 medium onion, sliced in half moons
500 ml good stock (organic vegetable or chicken)
4-5 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp of each: ground ginger, cumin, turmeric, white pepper
chili flakes to taste
3 garlic cloves
generous tbsp fresh lime juice
4 shallots
1 tbsp olive oil (+ 1 tbs oil for cooking)

  • In a mortar and pestle, pound the cardamom pods until fine (you can use the seeds only, but I usually don't bother separating, and leave the outside skin in).
  • add all the spices and garlic, and pound until forming a paste
  • add the lime juice, then add the olive oil
  • continue pounding carefully (don't splash) until all is mixed into a smooth, runny paste
  • heat a tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for up to 5 minutes
  • add the root vegetables and stir to mix with onions. Let caramelize lightly, stirring regularly for up to 10 minutes
  • add the spice paste, stir well to coat all vegetables, and cook for 1-2 minutes (not too long, or it will become bitter)
  • add the stock, stir all together, and bring to a boil
  • over low heat, simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the hardest vegetable (in my curry that was the beetroot) is soft.

You can serve this as a main course with rice. I served it with a homemade salsa verde as well. Now, if your family is like mine, they will love it yet will also mutter how great this would be with grilled lamb chops!

you may also like my Many Vegetable Lasagna and In My Kitchen: Six Months After Leaving Dubai

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