What’s In Season – October

Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Photo: Epicurious.com

October is such a good month.  It makes me think of pumpkins and leaves turning and long walks and Halloween.   In terms of what you’ll find at the local farmers’ market, think vegetables and fruits resulting in hearty, richly flavorful recipes.

Vegetables:

Broccoli, pumpkins, spinach lettuce, sweet potatoes, and winter sqaush.

Fruits:

Apples, cranberries, grapes, and pomegranate.

Recipes:

I covered a fantastic pumpkin recipe, from the Today Show, in my last post, “Pumpkin Risotto – The Perfect Fall Dish.”  If you like pumpkin and like risotto, this is for you.

As for a suggestion for fabulous, purple Concord grapes, I am turning to blog fav, Smitten Kitchen.  She has a recipe for Grape Focaccia with Rosemary.

Sweet potatoes are covered by Epicurious.com, with a Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage and Shaved Chestnuts recipe that looks amazing, and they’ve got one for Pomegranate, Beet, and Blood Orange Salad that I am going to give a try.  (Don’t forget,  if you buy a bunch of beets, keep and saute the beet greens.)

And, lastly, there’s an unbelievably flavorful recipe in which you can put that winter squash to use.  What exactly is meant by “winter squash“?  About.com has the answer, including photos, so you can identify them at the market or grocery store.   In the case of the recipe below, Moroccan Chicken with Rice, winter squash means butternut squash.  Give this one a try.  Your taste buds will thank you.

Eat well!

****************

Moroccan Chicken and Rice

This one-pot chicken and rice jumble gets an autumnal boost from butternut squash and is laced with the fragrant perfume of a variety of mixed dried spices.  It’s not a spicy dish but is wonderful served with Harissa, a North African spicy pepper paste.

1 onion, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 skinless, boneless free-range chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 tsp (1 mL) each ground cinnamon, cumin seeds, garlic powder, ginger, turmeric, and sea salt
2 cups (500 mL) chicken broth
2 cups (500 mL) butternut squash, chopped*
1 cup (250 mL) basmati rice (can use wild rice and/or quinoa)
1/4 cup (50 mL) raisins (can use dried cranberries or cherries)

In a large, wide saucepan or Dutch oven (or deep skillet), saute onion in oil until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add chicken and sprinkle with seasonings. Stir-fry until  spices are fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in a little chicken broth.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape up  and stir in brown bits from pan bottom.

Add remaining stock and stir in squash, rice, and raisins.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer, stirring halfway through, until rice is tender and chicken is cooked, 18 to 20 minutes.  Garnish with sliced green onion.

Serves 4

* Speedy Squash Tip: When chopping butternut squash, with its characteristically tough skin, the going can be slow.  But here’s a trick: microwave the whole squash, on high, for 2 minutes.  This creates steam inside which softens the skin, making it easier to peel.

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