Sunday, October 19, 2008

Calabaza Con Piloncillo (Winter Squash in Cane Sugar Syrup)

Very simple only about 3-4 ingredients. Winter Squash simmered in cane sugar syrup, sweet, warm comforting, and you'll feel less guilty about the sweetness because the squash is healthy ha ha.

-About 2 pounds winter squash (I used Castilla, Kabucha, Jamaican/ Carribean, or Butternut are good for this)
-1 cup water (no more because the squash releases liquid)
-2 cups dark brown sugar or "unrefined solid cane sugar"
-1-2 stick cinnamon

(1)Place water, pumpkin, sugar, and cinnamon stick into pot, bring water to a screaching boil on high heat covered, now lower heat to medium or medium low simmer for 1 hour then go back, stab pumpkin with fork or knife if tender your done, if you want to make syrup thicker (because it's usaully just a very light syrup but you may make it heavier by letting it boil uncovered until it reduces to desired consistency.
(2)Ta-da simple right you can do this with sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin.
P.S. I'm labeling it as Mexican because Mexicans make these types of stuff often during winter months, but so do some Cubans and my grandmother but for navigation purposes I will label it as such.

I've done it in the rice cooker before using sweet potato you can check my post for that here:

Camote Con Piloncillo

Costillas de Cerdo Guisadas Con Patatas (Pork Rib Stew with Potatoes)

This recipe is from a Galician home cook known as "Pilar Lechuza" she has a cooking blog that is dedicated to the home style, traditional, simple Galician cooking. (La Cocina de Lechuza)

As I was surfing through her blog, I found this delicious, colorful Pork Rib Stew with Potatoes, it had great commentary and I realized that is seems to be a favorite among many Spaniards and some have slight variations of it.

It is delicous pork ribs in a very simple sauce flavorful sauce made from the browned ribs, combination of the delicious rendered fat from the ribs used to sautee the aromatics, dry white wine, a fresh grated to a puree tomato, seasoned with paprika, salt, and saffron. Sauce is made richer and thicker with potatoes! YUM, beautiful colors, wondeful smell, rich sauce, delicous meat I loved it.

I did change some things in it only like 2 things, one was that I went heavier on garlic because well I love garlic and so does my family, second I used bijol instead of saffron because I have no good saffron on hand, and I did some of the procedures a little different but almost identical, I went a little bit heavier on paprika because I like it but only a little heavier I used like 1/2 tsp. extra that's all. Umm and I also cut the ribs into smaller segments.

-3 1/2 pounds pork ribs (I asked the butcher to cut the long ribs in half long way to make smaller ribs that are finger sized, but that's just my preference)
-6 cloves garlic (about 1/2 a head mashed to a paste with teaspoon of salt in a mortar)
-3 tablespoons Extra- Virgin Olive oil
-1 onion chopped
-1 green bell pepper chopped
-1 red bell pepper chopped
-1 carrot chopped
-1 big tomato (grated, to a puree, or you can blend in blender then strain DO NOT USE CANNED PLEASE UNLESS YOU HAVE NO CHOICE)
-1 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
-1 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
-saffron to give some more color (I used 1 1/2 teaspoon of "bijol" also called "annato seed powder)
-salt to taste
-3 or 4 potatoes cubed and peeled

(1)Wash pork ribs well and clean, add garlic that's been mashed with salt in a mortar and rub all over, now cover well in a bowl or in a zip-lock bag, and let it marinade 1-2 hours.
(2)Now heat large deep pot on high heat for a little bit like 2-4 minutes, lower heat to medium high, add olive oil and add pork ribs in about 2 batches, fry them on each side until browned about 7-8 minutes each side do not move until browned on one side then flip. Again I did it in 2 batches. Now set aside. They will render some fat which will be great for the rest. REMEMBER to make your life easier while the ribs are browning you can chop everything your gonna use for this dish, and have stuff on hand.

(3)Now in same pot add onion, red and green bell peppers, carrot sautee 8-10 minutes until soft, add paprika and saffron (or bijol in my case) lower heat to medium and sautee 1 minute. Now add tomato, let tomato cook about 3-5 minutes. Add dry white wine, stir well bring to bubble on high then lower to medium high let it reduce a couple minutes. Add 1 cup water bring back to boil, add peas.
(4)Season with 1 teaspoon salt more or less to taste REMEMBER meat is already salted. Now add meat back along with any juices it released and peas. Coat well in sauce cover and simmer on medium low for 25-30 minutes. Add cubed potateos afterwards and cook another 10 minutes so potatoes can help thicken sauce. Taste for salt if it may need more now turn of heat. Your done.
(5)Serve with crusty bread or rice. Maybe a raw salad on the side.