Friday, February 17, 2006


The chocolate lady inspired me to try a dish that might have been a staple, had I known about it, in the vegetarian/grad school 1990s. It's legumbres en pipian, a squash stew with chiles, spices, and ground nuts from Deborah Madison and Edward Espe Brown's The Greens Cook Book and it's fantastic. I won't go bit by bit through the recipe because you can get that from the CL, but I will mention a few things that I liked about preparing it.

-It calls for pasilla chiles that you roast briefly in the oven, then tear into strips, then grind in a spice mill. These are the very definition of earthy. They start out long and leathery, then they puff up and soften in the oven, then they are reduced to a fine powder. Their taste is slightly bitter and not particularly hot.

-The CL recommended kabocha squash, which I had never cooked. Although a bitch to peel, kabocha squash is a pleasure to eat.

-The stew is thickened with a mixture of toasted and ground whole almonds and sesame seeds (which, combined with the pasilla chiles, puts the dish somewhere in the far outlying areas of mole country). If I were improvising a veggie stew sans recipe, it would never occur to me to toast and grind seeds and nuts to use as a thickener. My horizons have widened.

-It calls for a can of hominy but I did it one better, cooking dried Iroquois white corn a day ahead of time. (I did eat quite a bit of this the moment it was ready, with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt.) A-Maize-Ing.

-I followed the Greens advice to serve it with sauvignon blanc and the acidic bite of the white wine works nicely against the sweet and spicy flavors of the stew.

Although my enthusiasm for eating meat is perhaps even too great, I do miss hearty veggie dishes like this and I should really cook more of them.

(When I took the picture above I was about to gratinize the leftovers with breadcrumbs and cheese, but I got lazy and just ate it as is, with a dollop of yogurt and a splash of hot sauce. Now I must make it again to see how well it goes with a crusty crust.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I advise dieters to buy software which blocks MZN's photos from appearing on their displays. Another lovely photo for this thread, MZN.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Luscious Gracious said...

Why, oh, why did I have to stumble across your blog? I am sooooo hungry, and I think that I want to marry you (please forgive the fact that I am indeed too hungry to even spare the energy to read anything about you yet...that will have to wait for another visit. Right now I have to go to the fridge, and curse my lazy, no-cooking ass). Thanks for the pick-me-up....

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are those fava beans in there? Man, does that look good.

5:38 AM  
Blogger mzn said...

Lindy, I think you're looking at the hominy. The main ingredients are squash, hominy, cauliflower, and peas. The recipe calls for mushrooms too but I forgot to buy them.

Thanks, Doug and Kiki.

9:03 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

You are spot on about those pasillas.

11:12 AM  

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