Braised Winter Squash with Black Bean Sauce & Bok Choy

When seemingly impenetrable chunks of winter squash meet an aromatic broth of ginger, garlic, and Asian black bean sauce, something magical happens – and fast. within 30 minutes, rock-hard squash transforms into velvety morsels. But don’t mistake surrender for wimpiness – this stew’s got gusto.

Makes 4 servings.

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup shallots (about 2 bulbs), minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1 x 1-inch) hunk ginger, peeled & minced
1 Tbsp Asian black bean-garlic sauce
3 to 4 cups winter squash, peeled & cut into 1 or 2-inch chunks (recommended: kabocha, Hubbard, or butternut)
2 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry (if alcohol is an issue, omit)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 large bunch bok choy or 6 bunches of baby bok choy (about 6 cups), cut into 2-inch pieces
sesame oil, for drizzling
1 tsp sesame seeds or gomasio (optional garnish)

In a deep skillet or wok with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat and add the shallots. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute or so, then add the black bean sauce. Stir to keep from sticking.

Add the squash and stir to coat with the aromatics, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the rice wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add to the squash and bring to a lively simmer. Add enough liquid so that the vegetables are barely covered. Cover and cook until the squash is just about fork tender, 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and place the bok choy on top of the squash mixture. Drizzle the bok choy with the sesame oil. Return the lid and allow to steam until the bok choy arrives at your desired doneness, at least 3 minutes.

Serve hot, over Coconut Rice

To read the review for The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook, please click here

From the book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2010. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com