Saturday, February 25, 2023

Roasted Winter Squash with Kale Pipián

I made roasted winter squash with kale pipián for lunch and it was great! Before anyone asks, Wikipedia says that pipián is a sauce made from puréed greens and ground pumpkin seeds. Note that to be more traditional, you should use hoja santa (“a robust aromatic Mexican herb”) instead of kale, but it’s just hard to come by. The Tuscan kale in this recipe is also called lacinato or dinosaur kale; it is much smaller and less sturdy than the traditional curly leaf kale that you’re used to seeing. It goes well with the pumpkin seeds, and this was possibly my first time using tomatillos at home – the sauce really worked! It would be great on other roasted vegetables, too. 

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas), divided 
3 lbs. mixed winter squash pieces (such as 1”-thick delicata rounds or kabocha wedges, and/or quartered honeynut), seeds removed 
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
kosher salt 
¼ white onion, thinly sliced 
3 garlic cloves, crushed 
8 oz. tomatillos (about 4), husks removed, rinsed 
1 small bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn 
2 serrano chiles (I omitted them) 
flaky sea salt 
cilantro leaves with tender stems and lime wedges (for serving) 

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Toast pumpkin seeds on a rimmed baking sheet until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Let cool. 

Increase oven temperature to 425 °F. Toss squash pieces and oil on another rimmed baking sheet to coat; season with kosher salt. Roast, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 30–40 minutes. 

Bring onion, garlic, tomatillos, and 2 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high. Cook until tomatillos are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add kale and cook just until wilted and bright green, about 1 minute. Let onion mixture cool in pan until warm. 

Char chiles over the flame of a gas burner, turning occasionally, until blackened and slightly softened, about 1 minute (or, arrange chiles on a rimmed baking sheet and use broiler). 

Transfer onion mixture to a blender with a slotted spoon; reserve liquid. Add charred chiles and ¾ cup pumpkin seeds to blender and purée, adding reserved liquid as needed to get things moving, until a smooth, pourable sauce forms. Season pipián with kosher salt. 

Divide squash among plates. Drizzle with pipián and sprinkle with sea salt. Top with remaining ¼ cup pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

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