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Friday, January 2, 2009

White Bean, Butternut Squash and Chard Stew

December was a crazy busy month, plus I was sick and very nearly useless for a week. My sister and I decided to save some money by making each other (and our respective brothers-in-law) gifts. We loved it, but it was time-consuming. So please forgive my absence.

Every now and then we get a big envelope in the mail stuffed with clippings and such from my mother-in-law. She sends me recipes from newspapers and magazines, and I need to tell her again how much I appreciate that. The ones I keep go into my 8 or 10 three-ring binders full of recipes copied from library cookbooks, printed from the Internet and torn from newspapers, magazines and catalogs.

This recipe is from a clipping sent by my mother-in-law, so it’s probably from the Louisville (Kentucky) Courier Journal. This is my slightly revised version: I wanted it to be a bit soupier, so I nearly doubled the broth, and used chicken rather than vegetable because I prefer the flavor. I’ve never made it with the expensive truffle oil and don’t miss it.

City Cafe White Bean, Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Stew
1 medium butternut squash
1 tbsp. dried thyme
3 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 bunch Swiss chard
2 medium shallots, peeled and minced
4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 15-oz. cans Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups chicken broth
Parmesan cheese
White truffle oil (seriously optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel the squash, cut in half and scoop out seeds. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes. Put in a large bowl, sprinkle with thyme and 2 tbsp. of the olive oil, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Toss to coat squash with oil and seasonings. Place squash in single layer on baking sheet and roast 45 minutes or until browned and tender, turning once. You can do this much ahead of time and refrigerate it till you are ready to make the stew.
Wash Swiss chard well. Pinch off stems from leaves. Chop stems and leaves separately. Heat remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil in a heavy pot. Add minced shallots and garlic and chopped chard stems. Sauté until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add drained beans, roasted squash and 2 cups broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the chopped chard leaves and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes more. Add more broth if stew seems too thick.
Serve in bowls with shaved Parmesan cheese and topped with a drizzle of truffle oil, if desired.
Serves 4.

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