I cook better than I write

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

“Three sister casserole” with Pumpkin Pesto.

From Vegetarian Times

The colder days are here and it is time to cook in the oven. I made this casserole Saturday night. I used pumpkin instead of squash, and white kidney beans instead of pinto beans. The result was mmmmmmmmm yammyyyyyyy.
Note: My squash mix was pretty liquid. I hesitated, but pour the leftover “juice” before covering with the second layer of polenta. The result was very good.

Three Sisters Casserole

A Native American expression “three sisters” refers to the practice of growing beans, corn, and squash together. This filling casserole can be frozen for an upcoming party or made fresh for diner.

Polenta Topping
1 ½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 Tbs. chili powder
¾ tsp. salt

3 Tbs. olive oil divided
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large yellow or red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 lb kabocha (sweet mama) squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
1 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

To make the topping: whisk together cornmeal, chili powder, salt and 4½ cups water in double boiler, or in the large metal bowl over barely simmering water (bain maraine). Cook 40 minutes, or until polenta is thick and stiff, stirring 3 or 4 times. Remove from heat

To make the filling: preheat oven to 375F. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and cook 7 minutes, or until soften, stirring often
Add bell pepper and cook 5 more minutes, stirring often
Stir in squash, tomatoes, garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in ½ cup of water and salt. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, 10-15 minutes, or until squash is tender
Stir in beans and corn, and cook 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally
Coat 8x11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 2 cups polenta over bottom.
Spoon squash mixture over polenta. Smooth remaining polenta (~ 2½ cups) over top
Score casserole into 6 squares with knife. Brush top with remaining 1 Tbs. oil. Bake 30 minutes, or until heated through and top is lightly browned.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto.

The pumpkin oil tends to be expensive (mine was ~12$ for a small bottle). The recipe advices to substitute it with olive oil.

1 cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
½ cup toasted pumpkin seed oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp. salt
Pinch cayenne

Toast pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over the medium heat 4-5 minutes, or until puffed and golden, stirring constantly
Transfer seeds to food processor. Add remaining ingredients, and process until smooth.
Store in airtight container in a refrigerator for up to a week.

Yield: 1 cup


Eric said...

Now, is it me or is that a hole lot of food...

I will say publicly though that your food rocks!


CCC said...

10x 10x 10x ;)
Me blushing now ;)