Roasted butternut, mushroom and white bean tostada with pecan chipotle sauce

Buuternut, mushroom and white bean tostadas

Buuternut, mushroom and white bean tostadas

weathered bones
just thinking of the wind
it pierces my body
– Basho

All night long the wind seemed to shake the house. It sounded as though it was rushing through the neighborhood, rattling chains and knocking things over. It sounded like somebody drumming on empty barrels, and then racing away up the street. I lay awake for a while, worrying. Not about the wind, but about getting older and about disease and decay. It sounds foolish, it is foolish, and yet I lay awake letting my thoughts move from one thing to another, just like a visit to the doctor at a certain age results in one test that leads to another and another. I had no concrete cause for concern, I don’t know where the worry came from. I finally fell asleep and dreamt about owls and woke up confused. The wind was still wild this morning, blowing through us like icy knives on the way to school. When Clio and I walked home, empty garbage cans rolled around the streets, and made Clio crazy. She stopped and startled and then took off like a shot. Her hackles were raised, she refused to go down certain streets and she barked down others. She was in a panic. It struck me as strange that it’s so easy for us to recognize when somebody else’s fears are ungrounded or misplaced. It’s so easy for me to see that Clio is not going to be attacked by a garbage can, and I know that cars are dangerous for her, though she does not. It must be like that with my own worries as well. I’m barking down alleys at shadows, losing sleep over empty cans.

Roasted squash, mushroom and white bean tostadas

Roasted squash, mushroom and white bean tostadas

You know what makes these special? The patented Ordinary method of grating and roasting vegetables. It works for squash, beets, mushrooms, turnips, and many many others. It produces a nice texture and a completely roast flavor. In this recipe mushrooms and butternut squash are grated and roasted and then mixed with white beans, to create a sort of mince. This mixture is layered on top of a crispy tortilla in a cold/warm/cold/warm stack. First cool spinach leaves, then warm beans, then melted cheese, then cool avocado and tomatoes and spicy smoky pecan chipotle sauce. And that’s that!

Here’s Skip James with Worried Blues.


1 smallish butternut squash
10 oz. mushrooms
3 or 4 fresh sage leaves
1 t rosemary
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 T butter
juice of half a lime
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

To serve: What tortillas. Clean baby spinach, cherry tomatoes and ripe avocado, grated cheddar or jack or smoked gouda, pecan chipotle sauce (below)

Preheat the oven to 425. Peel the squash and scrape out the seeds. Grate the squash, or cut it into pieces about an inch wide and a few inches long, and run it through the processor to grate it. Grate the mushrooms, or put them through the food processor to grate them. Mix the mushrooms and butternut squash with enough olive oil to lightly coat everything, and spread in an even layer on a big baking sheet. Mix in chopped sage leaves and rosemary.

Bake until everything is browned and crispy. Stir them frequently, mixing the outside with the inside, because the outside should get browned first. Set aside.

Meanwhile warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, stir and fry until they start to brown. Add the white beans, mix and stir and heat through. Add the lime juice and butter, and stir in the squash and mushrooms. Heat through and set aside. Season well with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, warm a little olive oil and fry the tortillas on both sides. Leave in a warm oven.

Mix the chopped avocado with chopped cherry or grape tomatoes. Grate some jack, cheddar, or smoked gouda, or a combination of all of these.

Make the PECAN CHIPOTLE SAUCE

1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1 t rosemary
1 t smoked paprika
1 t chipotle purée
juice of half a lime
1 t maple syrup
lots of freshly ground pepper
shake of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
warm water

In a food processor or blender combine everything but the olive oil. Blend until coarse and chunky. Add the olive oil and process until smooth, and then add enough warm water to make the sauce as thin as you like it and completely smooth.

When you’re ready to eat, put a tortilla on each plate. Top with fresh baby spinach, top this with a big helping of beans, mushrooms and squash, top with cheese, top with avocados and tomatoes, and drizzle some pecan sauce over everything.

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