Sunday, November 30, 2014

Butternut squash, leeks and mushrooms: 3 ingredients, 3.5 dishes

Several times recently, I've spent a couple of hours cooking to make dinner for the night plus meals for the week. Starting with a large butternut squash, I have been making an enchilada casserole, butternut squash soup, and a mushroom and leek quiche.

You'll need a large butternut squash (or two smaller ones), a pound of baby bella mushrooms, 2-3 leeks, a pie shell (plus quiche ingredients: 3-4 eggs and milk), and a bag of Frontera Grill Red Enchilada sauce (I've found it both at Whole Foods and Shaw's near me). I also make rice for serving with the casserole.
Prep your butternut squash by peeling it. Rather than use a peeler, I've been cutting the squash between the bulb and neck first, then putting it on its flat side to cut off the peel with my chef's knife. It cuts off a bit more of the flesh, but you'll be using the peels to make stock anyway, so it's okay.

Cube the butternut squash and roast it in a 400 degree oven for 35-45 minutes, until soft. I stir (and check on the squash) every 10 minutes at the start, then every 5 at the end.
While the butternut squash is roasting, make veggie stock. Put the butternut squash peels in a pot. I cut off the stem and the circle on the bottom end. I also don't put the seeds into the stock, but I suppose that you could. Add in the trimmings from your mushrooms and leeks as you prep those. Cover your trimmings with water, bring to almost a boil, then reduce the temperature to simmer, partially covered, for at least 30 minutes. When done simmering, uncover the stock and let it cool.
With the stock simmering and butternut squash roasting, sauté the leeks in some olive oil.
After about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
Once done, turn off the heat. You'll put about half into a prepared pie crust; the other half will go into the enchilada casserole. (See this post on making quiche for more details on making the quiche -- just be sure to cut the ingredients in half, as that original post was for two quiches.)
Cook the quiche in the oven, which can be concurrent with the butternut squash roasting. You'll need to drop the oven temp, which will just mean that the squash will take a bit longer to roast.

Here's the remaining mushrooms and leeks, for the casserole.
And the roasted butternut squash.
And the cooling stock.
Add about half of the butternut squash to the mushroom and leek mixture. Then stir in the enchilada sauce and some cheese (cheddar or gruyere work well).
Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish. Top with pepitas, if desired. Cook uncovered for 30-35 minutes in a 350 oven until the mixture is bubbling. I start my rice about 10 minutes before the casserole goes into the oven, so it will be ready at the same time.
By this time, the quiche is done. I let it cool on the counter before putting it into the fridge. The quiche is for another day.
Here's the remaining butternut squash, waiting to be made into soup. I'll do that after dinner, as it'll be easier to handle the cooled stock and squash. (Don't ever put hot liquid into a blender, because it makes a huge, explosive mess.)
Here's the casserole, ready to eat. This time, I didn't put the pepitas on it. Most times, I do, as they add a nice crunch.
After dinner, strain the stock. Make the soup by putting the remaining squash and some stock into a blender. Process it until smooth. You can add as much stock as you'd like, depending upon whether you'd like a thicker or thinner soup. I transfer the soup into glass jars for packing in lunches, as I prefer to warm things in glass instead of plastic.

Transfer the remaining stock to canning jars. I usually end up with about 4-6 cups after making the soup. (You could measure your water into the stock pan to have a more definite outcome, but I just eyeball it.) The stock can be used for risotto (recipe coming soon), braising cabbage (also coming soon), or making more soups.

One cooking session, three dishes, plus stock to make more.

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