Image Via Sweet Paul
While I'm posting seasonal favorites, I have to include this Butternut Squash + White Bean Stew from Sweet Paul (Issue 2, Fall 2010). I've been experimenting with soups and stews for the first time ever this year and I have to say I think this one is my favorite so far. It's very hearty but the flavors aren't heavy. The veggies + wine + preserves creates this amazing, every so slightly sweet, complex flavor that's not over seasoned nor overbearing--the broth is incredibly tasty. It sounds silly, but I totally had this moment of empowerment, (while sauteing the bacon, leeks, garlic, and squash) where I thought to myself, "HELL YEAH!" It was somewhere around the time where the colors of the vegetables started to become brilliant and gorgeous, and the aroma in the kitchen sort of bowled you over and invaded your brain. This wonderful, "I am woman, kick-ass, awesomeness, hear me roar" realization and I felt proud of my ability to create this sensory overload with my own hands. My hands. I have really challenged myself this year, I took on a new project to develop, refine, and hone in my skill set in the kitchen and I'm beginning to see it pay off... in the form of fresh, hearty, seasonal, stew. Okay okay, so you have your victories and I have mine, but it feels awesome to know that I have taught myself how to prepare fresh, balanced, wholesome meals for myself and others with a small amount of finesse.
- I substituted peach preserves with fig preserves I had on hand from the Farmer's Market - delish.
- I saved myself $1.99 and omitted the parsley because I find I don't particularly care for it.
- I used Sauvignon Blanc (surprise) for wine. I think the dry, bright, citrus was a great aid in helping to keep the flavors light.
- I would recommend using 3/4 lb of white beans for this dish - it was a bit beany for my personal tastes.
- I also recommend saving a few cups of broth for the end, you will want to add more during the simmer as the beans soak up quite a bit of the initial portion.
- I served this stew with crusty bread prepared in my own (slightly lighter) adaptation of "the bread" from Pioneer Woman (the best method for toasting bread if you ask me).