We are the wrath of gods and the desolation of the squash. It is on this day that snow drifts and howls, my workplace cowers in terror, and I concoct a
firm foundation of unyielding despair delicious, cheap, and- if you care- healthy and vegetarian bit of comfort food for y’all. To perceive is to suffer, but to perceive while hangry is just stupid. Crack a beer, or as many beers as you like, and follow along for something that will allow you to be, if not proud, at least capable of saying “I did a thing.”
Beelzebub’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Bowel Bomb
- Serves: 4
- Time: ~1 hour
- “Special” equipment: 12″ cast iron skillet, Dutch oven, or other oven-safe pan
- Goes well with/as: by itself, an accompaniment to football, nachos/tacos/burritos/taquitos, something to eat an entire pan of by yourself when decidedly not sober
- 2-2.5 c butternut squash, in bite-size cubes
- 2 c black beans, cooked (i.e. one 14-oz can)
- 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 6 small cloves garlic
- 1 dried chile of choice, e.g. Guajillo, stemmed, seeded, and torn into several pieces
- 3 medium tomatoes (I used Kumatos, but Romas will do in a pinch), coarsely chopped or in eighths
- 1.5 t salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1 t Spanish smoked paprika
- 1 metal album from a Southwest band
- 1.5 t cumin
- 1/2 t coriander
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t turmeric
- 1/2 t oregano or sage
- Olive oil
- Splash of red wine
- Generous swig of red wine, for yourself
- 1 c chopped cucumber
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1.5 c shredded cheese of choice
- Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
- Juice of 2 limes, for serving
- Pure evil and hate
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Have your skillet in there to heat up along with it.
2. Prep your mise-en-place. In individual bowls: dried chile; onion; garlic; 2 of the chopped tomatoes; black beans; all of the spices except 1/2 t salt, black pepper, and 1/2 t paprika.
3. Toss the squash in a little olive oil, the maple syrup, and the spices mentioned last in (2). Add to the skillet, then move to oven and roast 25 minutes, tossing once at the 15-minute mark. Remove, transfer to a bowl, and set aside. Note: that burnt-looking shit is the sugar. It’s delicious.
4. Move the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat (keep the oven on). Wipe it out, then add 3 T olive oil. When shimmering, add the dried chile and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
5. Add the onion, toss to coat, then cook 5-6 minutes, until thoroughly softened and starting to brown.
6. Add the garlic, 2 tomatoes, and remaining spices. Cook 2 minutes, stirring vigorously and mashing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. You should get a good amount of liquid; if not, your tomatoes are false.
7. Add black beans and wine. Stir thoroughly, bring liquid to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, layer the squash over the top, and cook 5 minutes, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
8. Cover with cheese in an even layer. Transfer to oven until cheese is bubbling and golden brown, about 6 minutes.
9. Remove skillet from oven and set aside, covered, for 15-20 minutes.
10. Portion out. Top each portion with chopped Persian cucumber, red onion, and the last chopped tomato (see below). Garnish with cilantro and lime juice. Serve with tortillas.
- If someone’s a hardcore teetotaler, swap out the red wine for a splash of apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire.
- Don’t be put off by all the spices. You should have them in your cabinet anyway. If you don’t, you can spend $15 and get a six-month supply easy. Pro tip: the online vendors like Penzey’s and Savory Spice Shop are not only better, but actually cheaper than the supermarket. Plus, they give you free stuff. Disclaimer: for the record, that’s just me, not a paid endorsement.
- Save yourself some effort. You can get pre-peeled garlic at the supermarket for dirt cheap. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, they sell pre-cubed butternut squash. And if you’re really lazy or in a hurry, just blitz the onion real quick in a food processor or mini-blender. It won’t get you slices, but it’ll work just as well.
Questions? Comments? Shrieks of disgust? Ideas for other recipes? Please share in the comments.