Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Receta: Calabaza

So, I know; it's been forever! But I will try my best to get back to this.

Today, I have some work to get through, but not too much that would make it impossible for me to make lunch. And lucky me, look what I spotted at the store this morning.

Calabaza (calabasa) squash; sometimes called Mexican squash
I decided that I'd make one of my favorite dishes, calabasa con puerco. You can make it with chicken if you want, but I only ever recall having it with pork. This dish is easy to make; you can make it like a soup, which is how I prefer it, or you can make it a little less soupy.

So, here we go with today's dish. I didn't buy all of those squash, just seven (7) of them. I, of course, stocked up on my three colors as well. And I bought some boneless, center cut pork chops (about 1/2 a pound). If I was making this for the family--and not for me for the next few days--I'd probably up that pork to about 1 1/2 pounds, but I like the squash so much, I didn't want a ton of pork in it. It's up to you how you like; try it a couple of different ways--heck, even make it with chicken--to figure out what you like best.

So, I started with chopping everything up. I used half a field grown tomato, half a bell pepper, one-quarter of an onion, and about one-quarter cup of cilantro. These don't have to be finely chopped up, again depending on how you like your soup. And, of course the calabasas and pork--both in cubes.


Cut up vegetables
Calabasas, cut up
Pork chops, cut in cubes












Then it was time to work on my spices; if you don't recall how to do this, go here. For this, I used about 2 teaspoons of cumin, 2 gloves of garlic, and a few peppercorns and tossed those into my molcajete to grind up.

Spices in molcajete, ready to grind.
Spices, ground up



You'll need a large quart pot; I used my 10 or 12 quart. Then add a small amount of oil, to sparingly cover the bottom of the pot and toss the pork in to cook until browned on medium heat.

Pork in lightly oiled pot.



Pork chops, browned.

















Now it's time to add your vegetables--not the calabasa--spices, salt (to taste), and about 3/4 cup of water to your pork.
Pork, vegetables, spices, and water.

Pork with bell pepper, onion, tomato, and cilantro















You'll want that to cook and blend the flavors, about 10 minutes and medium low heat. Then it's time to toss in the calabasa and a little bit of water--but not a lot, because calabasa, like many other vegetables and squashes, has a pretty high water content. So I added about 3/4 cup of water when I tossed in the calabasa. Stir, cover, and cook on medium low heat.

Mix with spices and water.
Add the calabasa 




















As you see, as the calabasa cooks down, there is now more liquid to the pot.

Cooking down, on low medium heat.
Make sure you stir up the calabasa as it cooks down; you may find you'll need to add more water. I added another 1/2 cup at this point; as I said, I like it soupy.


Then there's just a few more things to do; I made the calabasa with arroz (rice) today, so I had some tomato sauce left over and I tossed that in the pot--totally not necessary, but I hate to throw it out once I've opened a can. And the other thing that you need to add--and this is a necessary--is a can of corn (or a frozen bag of corn or if you feel like shucking cutting fresh off the cob, you can do that, too. Drain the corn well and then toss it into the pot.
Can of corn
Corn added to the pot
  
















After that, it's just a matter of continuing to cook down the calabasa (covered) until it's cooked soft and the "soupy" level you desire. Today's batch looked like this when I was done:

Today's calabasa
And as I said, I made arroz to go with it. Usually if the family is eating, I'll bust out with corn tortillas and some refried beans; but this was just for me and I don't need all that stuff when it comes to calabasa.

Just a serving
Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think!

¡Hasta la proxĂ­ma vez!

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