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The heat of chile, spices of North Africa and earthiness of kale beautifully complement sweet butternut squash in this hearty ragout. Bright, rich and healthy, this recipe is easily prepared in 30 minutes making it a delicious option for a weeknight. If you prefer an even richer stew, hot Italian sausage may be added. Most likely, however, you will find that the meatless version is substantial and satisfying enough to win over any carnivore. Use vegetable broth if you wish to keep it vegetarian. Be sure to serve the ragout with couscous to soak up the liquid.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 red jalapeno chiles or 2 serrano chilies, stemmed, seeded, finely chopped
- 1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded, cut in 3/4 inch cubes about 4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 1⁄2 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 (14 ounce) cancrushed plum tomatoes with juice
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups kale leaves, tough stems removed, torn in pieces
- 2 cups couscous
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a deep saute pan or stock pot. Add onion and saute until beginning to soften, 2 minutes. Add garlic and chiles and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add butternut squash and dry spices; saute 2 minutes.
- Add 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and tomatoes with juices. (The squash should be just covered with liquid. Add extra chicken stock if necessary.).
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until squash is tender but firm, 15-20 minutes. Add chickpeas and 1 teaspoon salt. Continue to simmer, 10 minutes. Stir in kale and simmer until leaves are wilted and bright green, 2 minutes.
- While the ragout is simmering bring 2 cups chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, add couscous, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with fork.
- To serve, spoon couscous into a bowl or shallow plate, leaving a well in the center. Ladle ragout into the center. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley leaves.
- TO MAKE WITH SAUSAGE:.
- As a first step, slice 8 ounces hot Italian sausage into 1/2 inch pieces. Saute in deep saute pan until golden brown on all sides.
- Transfer sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon rendered fat. Add onion and proceed with instructions above, substituting the sausage fat for the olive oil.
- Return sausage to the ragout with the chickpeas.