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Food

Squash, Pot Roast, And Stews: Fall Cooking Is a Joy

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Marylin Acosta
/
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Finally, fall weather has set in and I’m getting excited about eating warm, savory, heart-warming food. Summer was fun, with tomatoes and basil, and all the beautiful produce, but now I’m ready for comfort food. Fragrant stews and braises, with buttery starches and warm salads are on the menu for this season. 

I talked last year about slow-cookers and how useful they are for busy households. I love mine and use it for lots of things, particularly pot roast. Nothing is better than coming home to the smell of dinner already simmering and all you have to do is make a salad and dish up whatever you made. I use my slow cooker to braise tougher (and less-expensive) cuts of meat and make vegetarian stews with squashes, potatoes, beans, and winter greens.

Now that it’s cool enough outside to turn on the oven, baking and braising is a joy. I’m not much of a bread baker, but I love roasting chicken and fish in the oven, and serving them with a dab of herbed butter or a coating of dry rub.

If you are a fan of sweet potatoes and butternut squash, they caramelize beautifully in the oven and can be seasoned in any way imaginable. I like to coat cubed, peeled squash with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic and roast until browned and soft. Then, I make a kale salad with tart vinaigrette and toss the warm squash into the salad. It wilts the kale and softens it, and the textures and flavors are a nice balance. Top the salad with a few toasted nuts and all you need is crusty bread for an easy vegan dinner.