Backyard Gigante Beans and Butternut Squash
- 1 cup gigante beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- Pinch red chile flakes
- 1/2 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 limes, juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped papalo or cilantro
- Squash blossoms, for garnish, optional
Place the gigante beans in a saucepan and cover with water. Soak overnight.
The next day, add to the beans the bay leaves, garlic, red chile flakes and some salt. Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and cook for 1 hour, then drain and remove the bay leaves.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place two-thirds of the cubed butternut squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and put into the oven. Roast until caramelized, about 30 minutes.
To a food processor, add the celery, carrots, onions and remaining butternut squash. Process until the vegetables are uniform in shape.
Put a saute pan over medium-high heat and add oil to coat. Once heated, add the processed sofrito and season with salt and pepper. Saute until caramelized, 30 minutes, adding more oil if necessary.
To the saucepan of beans, add the roasted squash, sofrito, tomatoes, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, lime juice and papalo. Stir to combine and taste. Season if necessary.
Serve garnished with squash blossoms, if desired and if they are available!
Papalo is a delicious herb that tastes like cilantro with a flavor that can be up to 3 times as strong. I have a beautiful papalo plant in my garden, but if you can't find it, substitute the same amount of cilantro, adding a little more for a stronger effect if desired.
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