Another Moroccan Stew: Beets, Buttercup Squash and Radishes

Photos of heirloom buttercup squash and radishes from the French J&L Seeds and Planet Natural respectively.

Yesterday evening at the Glade Road Growing potluck, Sally was talking about the survey results.  Although she's only had ten answers to date, the most frequent answer for "least liked new veggie" is either radish or salad turnip.  She asked if I could provide a suggestion for radishes in the recipe for this week's newsletter.

I thought that maybe those folks who don't enjoy radishes object to the sharp taste, which can be  down by slicing them  very thin or by pickling or combining them with fat and acid (think balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil or nuts or cheese. Radishes will also be milder in taste when roasted, braised, sauteed, steamed or stewed. The following is a recipe that combines cooked radishes with the buttercup squash and garlic we are slated to find in this week's farm share.

Other expected veggies this week are napa cabbage (think kimchi, Asian stir fries and soups) and Greenstar lettuce mix.


Serves 6

If you are going to cook your own dried garbanzo beans/aka chickpeas (which I prefer to canned), start the night before or at least two hours early.  The night before you make this stew or at least two hours before, cover 1/2 # of beans (1 cup) with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Soak for an hour or overnight, rinse, add three cups of water, bring to boil and cook until tender.  Rinse and drain.

Peel and dice 2/3 pound of beets (about 2 cups).  If you want this to be a little less messy and bring out the sweetness, you can quarter and roast them first before slipping off the skins and dicing.  

Wash a buttercup squash (or other winter squash, such as delicata, acorn, butternut, hubbard or pumpkin).  Winter squash are hard and thick-skinned, which make them store well, but hard to peel and cube unless you first cook them slightly.  You can do this by cutting off the stem end, halving it,  scooping out the seeds and fiber with a spoon and baking, microwaving or steaming until slightly soft. Or, to bring out the sweetness, you can roast the halves at the same time as the beets.   Cut the softened squash into 1/2 rounds and peel, then dice into 1/2 inch cubes.  You will need up to 2 cups for this recipe.  If there is more, you can save it for another recipe.  You can roast the seeds the same way you would pumpkin seeds.

Wash and trim stems and leaves  on about  2/3 pound radishes.(You can reserve the leaves and stems to use as a spicy salad green).

Coarsely dice 1 onion or two small onions.

Smash, peel and mince 4 cloves fresh garlic.

Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons).  If there is more, you can save in a jar with a tight lid.

Measure out the following spices:
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Coat the skillet or dutch oven with extra virgin olive oil and saute onions, stirring occasionally until softened.  Add the garlic and spices and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.  If you don't have a dutch oven, transfer to a 3 quart or larger heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot with a lid.  De-glaze skillet with a bit of water and add to pan.

Add  beets, 2 1/2 cups water and stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beets are slightly softened.  Add squash, radishes, chickpeas, 1/4 cups of raisins, 1 T sweetener such as raw sugar, molasses, honey or maple syrup.  Return the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring every 10 minutes and making sure to stir to the bottom of the pot to rotate the vegetables evenly, until the vegetables are fork-tender but still hold their shape, about 45 minutes.

While stew is cooking, prepare garnishes  coarsely chop 1/4 fresh cilantro. Slice 3/4 cups of almonds and toast in skillet. 

 Taste and season with salt as needed. Remove from the heat and stir in  lemon zest.  Serve stew over a cooked starch.  Couscous is traditional, but this also works with cooked brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, barley or millet, if you prefer a whole grain.

Sprinkle with the almonds and cilantro.