Acorn Squash Stew in the Slow Cooker
I shared this recipe first via my January 2014 newsletter. I didn't take pictures at each step in this recipe because I wasn't thinking about my blog - it was during the latter part of the holidays and I had taken a break from writing / publishing. I shared a teaser image on Instagram the day of and several friends asked me to share the recipe. So, here I am writing for my blog. I hope you like the recipe as much as my family of 3 enjoyed eating the stew.
1 pound of ground turkey (or omit)
1 acorn squash (see prep tip below) cut into chunks
1 can of chickpeas (I used one but wanted more, so 2 cans)
3 cups of DIY vegetable stock (recipe here)
2 large tomatoes, diced
14 oz tomato sauce
1 cup of grated carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1/2 cup of grated daikon radish (can omit) + 1 cup chopped
1/2 cup of diced onions
2 tsp minced garlic
1 T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1-2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tsp cumin, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (can do more if you like heat)
Tools: Pot, Skillet and 6 qt Crock Pot
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours
I. Acorn squash - Cut in half with chef's knife. Scoop out seeds. Boil water in a pot and put the halves in for about 5 minutes. Safely remove and let cool. Peel the skin with a sturdy Y peeler like this. Cut into chunks. (Boiling the halves helps soften the skin so it's easier to peel.)
II. Ground Turkey - Cook the 1/2 cup of diced onions and the 2 tsp minced garlic in the 1 T of EVOO in the skillet until golden brown. Add the ground turkey and 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cumin, and the 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Cook thoroughly. (Does not need to be drained.)
III. Stew - Turn crock pot on low heat and pour in the 14 oz of tomato sauce, the diced tomatoes and shredded carrots, and if using, diced and chopped daikon radish. Season it with the 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp black pepper.
Add the acorn squash. When the ground turkey with onions and garlic is cooked, add to the crock pot. Give it a good stir and season it with the rest of the cumin and sea salt.
Cover and cook on low for 5 and a half hours. Stir every hour or so.
IV. Add chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Rinse thoroughly then add to the crock pot in the last half hour of cooking. Cover.
Notes: If you omit ground turkey, you will want more chickpeas (2-3 cans). Omitting the ground turkey, will make this stew 100% vegetarian. Chickpeas are a good source of maganese, folate, and fiber. Their protein source is low but they're great for steadying blood sugar and aiding in digestion.
The hints of cinnamon among with the savory ingredients gives it a slight Moroccan or Indian cuisine flare. You can add more spice if desired. Just balance it out with the cinnamon. It is easy to go overboard with the cinnamon so just increase 1/4 tsp at a time.
You can serve this stew alone, with jasmine rice, or bread.
As a mom to a 5 year old, it's important for me to provide nourishment through food for his growing body - which I'm sure most of you can relate to. It's also satisfying when he sits through an entire meal without complaint or asking if he can eat only a few more bites. He ate his serving (the size of his balled up fist) and then a little more along with some bread. My husband had two servings and was happy to see how much I made so that we'd have leftovers for a few days. Learn more about the portion control via the L.E.A.N. way here.
I must share this tidbit before I sign off. My husband asked, "What kind of potatoes did you use?" I said, "I didn't use any potatoes. It was acorn squash." He said, "It tasted just like potatoes!"
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Be sure to watch for my post on the differences between manganese (the nutrient found mostly in chickpeas) and magnesium. It'll also talk about the foods you can find these two necessary nutrients in. You already know about one (chickpeas) and there's a nice surprise if you like something sweet! Stay tuned!!