I thought this was such a nice meal. It started as a mistake, almost, so it’s an example of taking a culinary wrong turn and finding yourself on an even better road! I had the idea of roasting “steaks” of butternut squash. I thought I’d try marinating them. I know they wouldn’t absorb as much marinade as, say, eggplant or mushrooms, but I thought they might absorb some. So I cut them about 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Then I made a marinade of rosemary, sage, garlic, port wine, balsamic and olive oil. I let them sit for more than an hour, turning them once. They did take on some of the color and flavor! Then I had the bright idea of trying to dip them in egg and bread them, in the manner that I make eggplant. This didn’t work at all! I think if I’d steamed them first, they would have absorbed more of the marinade, and been better able to hold onto their crust. As it was, the crust turned crispy and delicious, and then came right off the steaks. Did I panic? I did not. I scraped the crust (made from bread crumbs and pistachio kernels) right off of the steaks, and I mixed it in with my mashed potatoes! I’d been planning to make hash browns with some leftover mashed potatoes, because Malcolm likes them. I didn’t know he did, but he told me at the reader’s breakfast at school he ate all of his hash browns, and Isaac’s and some other friends, too!! It’s funny when you learn something new about someone you know so well! They’re a bit like croquettes, I guess with the crumbs and nuts added in. I suppose if you put some cheese in, you’d have a meal! Anyway…the butternut steaks roasted up nicely without the breading – they were soft on the inside, and just browned and a little crispy and caramelized on the outside. And I used the marinade sauce, combined with some roasted mushrooms, to make a sort of gravy for the steaks. Everything was very nice together – a real meat and potatoes meal!The next day, after work, I combined leftover hash browns, leftover mushroom sauce, and diced leftover roasted squash with black beans to make a filling for tacos. We ate it with warm tortillas, crisp romaine lettuce, basmati rice and some grated extra sharp cheddar. Also very delicious!! It was so good it would be worth making from scratch! It would make a good filling for a savory pie!
Here’s The Joe Morello Quintet ft. Art Pepper with Pepper Steak
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch “steaks” The bulb-shaped part with the seeds can be cut into four square steaks.
1/2 cup port wine (or red wine)
2 T cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
one garlic clove, minced
1 stalk of rosemary, leaves only, or 2 T dried, crushed
5 or 6 fresh sage leaves, or 1 t dried
10 oz baby portobella mushrooms
1 shallot, minced
2 T butter
1 cup vegetable stock or water
splash white wine
salt and lots of black pepper
Put the squash in a single layer in a roasting pan. Mix the marinade together and pour it over the squash. Let sit for at least an hour, turning once or twice in that time. Preheat the oven to 425. Generously coat a baking sheet with olive oil. Place the squash on the sheet in a single layer, turning each one so it’s coated on both sides with olive oil. Roast for about 40 or 45 minutes, until the squash is soft on the inside, and browned and caramelized on the edges. Slice the mushrooms into different sized pieces. I processed about 1/3 in the food processor so that they were almost ground, cut 1/3 into a fairly fine dice, and left 1/3 in larger chunks. Coat them lightly with olive oil, and stir in the shallot. Roast them along with the squash, stirring from time to time, until darkened and a little crispy. This should only take about 20 minutes, then you can take them out and set them aside.
Meanwhile…Pour the marinade into a medium-sized frying pan. Maintain a slow boil over medium-high heat until it’s reduced by about half. Then add the mushrooms and the stock. Return to a boil, and cook till it’s just as thick and saucy as you like. Stir in the butter and the dash of white wine, if you’re using, and season well with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. When the “steaks” are done, spoon the mushroom sauce over each, as much as you like.
For the HASH BROWNS
4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped in big chunks
2 T butter
1/4 cup milk
2 slices whole wheat bread – ground to crumbs
1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
2 t olive oil
1 egg, beaten
salt and plenty of black pepper
olive oil for the pan
Boil a pot of salted water to just cover the potatoes. Boil the potatoes until they’re soft but not mushy. Drain. Return the pan to the hot burner (with the heat off) to dry it out. Then mash in the butter and milk.
Toss the bread crumbs and pistachios with a little olive oil – just enough to coat. Toast them in a toaster oven or regular oven until just browned and crispy. Mash them into the potatoes along with one egg. Coat a large skillet with olive oil, and warm it over medium heat. Press the potatoes in a thick layer on the sheet. Cook for about five minutes, until it starts to brown, and then flip them over. You might need to do this in a few parts. Continue to cook on both sides till brown and crispy. Season well with salt and pepper and serve.
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 T olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
roasted butternut steaks
leftover mushroom sauce
leftover hashbrowns with pistachios
1 small head of broccoli – florets mostly, chopped into small pieces
pinch red pepper flakes
grated sharp cheddar or jack
crisp lettuce leaves
hot sauce, if you like!
Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, red pepper flakes and oregano, sautée for a few minutes, then add the garlic, and sautée for a minute more. Cut the roasted butternut squash steaks into small chunks and add them to the pan. Add the black beans, and stir and fry for a bit. Stir in the leftover mushrooms and potatoes, in whatever proportions you like. When everything is warmed through, add the broccoli and a few tablespoonfuls of water or broth. Cover and cook until the brocolli is bright green and tender. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with warm tortillas, rice, grated cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.