Every couple of months I pack up the kid and dog and drive out to Syracuse for a long weekend. For a variety of reasons - obligations here in Boston, a diabetic cat needing medication, et cetera - my husband rarely joins us. He usually sees these little jaunts as a good excuse to wallow in pork, since neither the baby nor I can eat the stuff, and the last weekend was no different. This time, though, he sent me a very enthusiastic text when he went to the butcher shop. There was a recipe he'd been dying to try out and he found the right cut of meat. We were going to have pulled beef when I came home from New York.
This led to an impromptu dinner party. If the recipe worked out well, there would likely be more meat than the two of us could eat. However, he wasn't sure how much the meat would shrink during cooking, so we needed to have a bunch of sides. I had certain criteria for these sides, of course. They had to cook up relatively quickly - I had no idea when the meat would be done and neither did Fearless Grill. They needed to use only ingredients that we had on hand, since after driving 5 hours with a comparatively cranky toddler I was not enthusiastic about the idea of grocery shopping. They needed to be healthy as well. This is what I came up with.
The dish went over relatively well, although the sweetness of the squash and the cider meant that I didn't eat a whole lot of it. It did however meet all my requirements. Chopping the squash pieces relatively small meant that they cooked fairly quickly. I added the kale both because we had it on hand and because I think everything is better with a little dark green leafy goodness. Well, maybe not everything. Chocolate is very nice without it although I haven't tried to combine the two.
Cider-Braised Squash and Kale (serves about 8; approx. $0.75/serving)
1 acorn squash, peeled and diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 bunch Red Russian kale, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 pint (sweet) apple cider
1/2 cup dried cranberries, plumped
- Large saute pan with lid
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until fragrant.
- Add the garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent.
- Add the squash and turnip. Saute briefly, mostly just to coat the vegetables.
- Add the cider and bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the kale and the cranberries. Stir well, then cover again and cook over very low heat until the kale is tender.