Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Butternut Squash and Chard Tacos

Chard is the new spinach.  Didn't you hear?  Nutritionally they're very similar - actually, spinach has slight advantages.  Slight.  And chard is so easy.  I get it locally, six months out of the year, and it just goes with everything.   That said, you could totally use spinach here, or another leafy green.

I've been using chard more and more in "Mexican"-style foods.   A little chard in your black bean egg roll? Sure.  In your quesadilla, of course.  And in my Italian and Thai foods too.  Chard plays well with others.  

So we're thinking about dinner, and Sous Chef Brian says, "Mexican," and I say, "We don't have any beans ready, we don't have meat...."  So butternut squash and chard it is.  

I had leftover butternut squash from one of those secret recipes, so I had frozen it in cubes.  Once I figured out what was going in it, dinner came together in minutes. 

Wash a head of chard and chop it roughly (this photo is unchopped chard). 

Find some peppers.  Not necessary, but nice.  I had these little sweet cherry peppers and one serrano.  You could use a jalepeno and some bell pepper. 

Chop them up and add them and your chard to a frying pan with a bit of oil.  I used avocado oil, but go with what you like.  Saute until wilted and remove from heat. 

Meanwhile, get your squash set.  In fact, if you're starting from fresh, you need to do this first.  Steam or bake your squash, skin it and cube it.  Let's imagine everyone has a freezer full of veg like I do.  

Please ignore my freezer burn. 

Take a cup and a half of cubed, cooked, frozen squash and defrost it.  Microwave works, or an oven on 300.  Once it's warm and defrosted, mash it with a fork. 

At this point, we faced a minor setback.  We discovered our flour tortillas in the fridge had turned.  I sent Brian to the corner store for "more tortillas."  That's what I said, "more tortillas."  We have flour tortillas on hand all the time, for quick sandwiches, and quesadillas and we use them for tacos too.  I have no idea why we use them for tacos, but we do.  We always have.  So when Brian came back with (local!) blue corn tortillas, I was disappointed.  Then I realized that everyone else uses corn.  We're the only fools making tacos in flour tortillas.   So there's been a little bit of a taco revolution at Saturday's Mouse HQ.  

A spritz of oil in a frying pan, high heat, and a corn tortilla.

Ok, pre-cooked, these things looked (and felt) a bit too much like stonewashed denim.
30 seconds, until they start to bubble a bit and get a few brown spots. 

Flip and do it again. 

We also cut up some scallions. 

I'm not sure why my squash looks this color in this picture.  It was yellow, not red. 

Mix the chard and squash, taste - we were surprised, we didn't season them at this point.  We also knew we were adding cheese.  If you weren't going to use cheese, maybe a pinch of salt.  Cheese is optional, I'm calling this vegan.

Put that on a taco and you're all set.  Silly me, I thought of restaurant orders of tacos on corn tortillas and put three on a plate.  Three is quite a lot of taco.  I'm going to say this recipe serves three, with two tacos each. 

I had some Hillacres Pride chipotle smoked cheddar, which was awesome, but another cheese would work here.  A dash of hot sauce and you're set. 

This recipe is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.  Become a member-owner by filling out the application here

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Butternut Squash and Chard Tacos
Sweet butternut squash and earthy chard don't need a lot of work to become awesome taco filling.
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut Squash (cooked and cubed)
  • 1 head chard (cleaned and chopped)
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup cheese (optional)
  • 1.5 tbsp oil (avocado or whatever)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced (or jalepeno)
  • 1/4 cup sweet pepper, diced (cherry or bell)
Saute chard and peppers in 1 tbsp of oil until wilted. Mash cooked squash with a fork. Combine with chard and peppers. Heat a spritz of oil in a frying pan, add a corn tortilla, heat until bubbles form, flip, heat another 30 seconds, set aside, repeat. Fill tacos with chard and squash mixture, top with scallions and cheese (optional).
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 servings

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