Butternut Squash, Kale, White Bean and Olive Stew

by Jan Gardner

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut, peeled, seeded, and cut into large cubes
2 red capsicums cut into large cubes
1 1/2 cups stock - chicken or vegetable
6-8 stalks of kale leaves trimmed and cut lengthwise into thick strips
1 tablespoon dried sage
1.5 kg either soaked overnight and white beans cooked with thyme or 3 cans of beans
1/2 bunch thyme
3/4 cup Kalamata (or similar) olive, pitted and halved
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Optional - 3 chorizo sausage, sliced thinly and quickly sauteed in a little olive oil

Directions

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute til tender, about 10 minutes. Add cubed butternut, saute 5 mins. then add red pepper and mix well. Add stock cover and simmer til butternut is just tender - about 10 minutes. Mix kale, beans, sage and some thyme into stew. Cook and cover until kale wilts stirring occasionally - about 8 minutes. Add olives (and chorizo if adding). Cook for 2-3 minutes then season to taste with pepper and salt. Serve garnished with grated Parmesan.

Curly Kale

Up until the end of the Middle Ages kale was one of the most widely cultivated vegetables in Europe. Its popularity has surged in recent time due to its extensive health benefits as well as great flavour. Now recognised as a 'superfood' it is packed with vitamins A, C, K and E,as well as iron.magnesium and calcium. With robust taste, kale displays wide versatility and can be used in soups, smoothies, baked in the the oven with olive oil, salt and lemon as a snack, as well as salads, pastas and omelettes.

Butternut

Hailing originally from North America where it was a staple of the American Indian diet, the sweet, nutty flavour of butternut now has a worldwide following. Grown on a vine, butternut can be roasted, grilled, pureed for soups, mashed as well as breads and muffins. A great source of fibre, Vitamin C, A and E as well as magnesium and potassium. Not to be overlooked are the protein-packed seeds that when roasted make a great snack or garnish. Cover the seeds and pulp with water and separate with your fingers, the seeds from the squash threads. Strain through a colander and pick out seeds. In a pot of well salted water boil for about 10 mins, drain, pat dry and then toss in a bowl with a little olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking dish and toast in a moderate oven for about 20 mins or until they start to pop. Enjoy!

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