Squash Cassoulet

Recipy courtesy of
ESSIE’S RESTAURANT
14 Mount Carmel Place, Poughkeepsie
845.452.7181
essiesrestaurantpk.com

Chef/owner Brandon Walker opened up his first restaurant, Essie’s, earlier this year in the Mt. Carmel neighborhood of Poughkeepsie— an area that had, decades earlier, been a thriving hub for the city’s Italian community. Walker, a Brooklyn native and graduate of the CIA in neighboring Hyde Park, named the restaurant after his grandmother and uses the menu to explore both local and seasonal ingredients. He incorporates the cultural influence of the area as well, creating dishes from Caribbean to South American to, of course, Italian cuisines. In winter, Walker likes to indulge his comfort impulses with dishes like osso buco and this standout vegetarian version of cassoulet. —E. Steinman

SQUASH CASSOULET

Serves 6

  • ¾ pound Goya 16-bean soup mix (or mix of any of the following: pinto beans, small red beans, pink beans, red kidney beans, great northern beans, baby lima beans, large lima beans, black-eyes peas, small white beans, black beans, whole green peas, yellow split peas, green split peas, lentils, chickpeas)
  • 4 ounces olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, medium dice
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, medium dice
  • 2 stalks celery, medium dice
  • 1 delicata squash, medium dice1 red kuri squash or kabocha squash, medium dice
  • 1 tromboncino (aka zucchetta) squash or zucchini squash, medium dice
  • Vegetable stock or water as needed
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • ½ sprig rosemary
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Cashew cream (recipe below)

Add 16-bean soup mix to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Set aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate pot over medium heat, add olive oil and onions. Caramelize the onions until brown, then add the mushrooms, garlic, carrots, celery and cook until all are lightly brown. Strain the 16-bean soup mix from the water and add to mushrooms and onions mixture; also add delicata, red kuri and tromboncino squashes.

Add vegetable stock, thyme, rosemary; bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer until all vegetables and legumes are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and finish with cashew cream to your desired consistency and creaminess. Serve in desired vessel. Note: The more cashew cream you use the creamier and thicker the dish will get.

CASHEW CREAM

  • 2 cups cashews
  • Water, as needed

Add cashews to a blender with water (a teaspoon or two) and blend until smooth, then reserve.

Note: Use enough water to make a puree. As you blend, the mixture will thicken. Use water (a teaspoon at a time) to adjust consistency in blender.

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