A warmly spiced delicata squash and fava bean stew makes the ultimate comfort food meal for chilly weeknights. It’s the kind of stew that makes you feel all snuggly and cozy inside out.
Fava beans are downright delicious legumes that are rather underused in Western cuisine and neither are they popular in Mauritian cuisine. It’s only in Canada that I’ve come across them. Dried large and medium fava beans can be found on the shelf of regular grocery stores here. The smaller fava beans are often available in cans.
Dried beans are pantry-friendly ingredients that last long and take much less space than their canned version. Although, for convenience I do stock canned beans too. Dried beans are tastier though and I love to soak the beans first before pressure cooking them. Soaking and pressure cooking make them a lot more digestible and causes much less bloating, easier on the stomach.
The large fava beans have quite a thick skin. So, if you are using larger beans, you may want to peel the skin first after boiling them before adding them to the stew. Else, you may use canned fava beans which are generally smaller and don’t need any peeling.
This stew is easy to make and is a great filing weekday dinner. The tomato broth is beautifully spiced with cumin, coriander and paprika as well as a heaping spoonful of ginger paste from our homemade recipe. The fava beans creates a deep earthy layer of flavour and texture that nicely contrasts with the freshness of the veggies and make it extra filling. A couple spoonfuls of vegetable bouillon powder, another staple in my panty, is a simple way to boost the flavours even more.
Winter squash, although slightly different with varying cooking time, can often be interchanged in recipes with good results. The delicata squash can be substituted with peeled butternut cubes or half-moon slices of acorn squash. Kabocha, buttercup and sweet dumpling squash will work well too. Except for the kabocha squash perhaps, all the other squashes will need to be peeled.
Delicata squash is perhaps the least acclaimed of all squashes. Like many other squashes, it keeps well all through the winter months when stored properly. But I just wished it was available year round, like butternut squash; I find it far more delicious than the latter! Apart from its almost honey-sweet flesh, its soft tender edible skin is why I favour delicata squash in this easy weekday meal. It doesn’t require a lot of elbow grease to cut into (like other larger pumpkins or squash) and there is no need to peel it.
To make Delicata Squash and Fava Bean Stew
The delicata squash takes a little more time to cook than the eggplant. So, precook it for about 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan. Then, simmer the tomates with the spices for a few minutes and add the squash back into the pan. Continue to simmer for about 8 – 10 minutes before adding the eggplant and simmer for another 12 – 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Since the fava beans are precooked, they are added during the last five minutes of the simmering. Finally garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread or rice.
Delicata Squash and Fava Bean Stew
- 500 g delicata squash, [1/2 squash] unpeeled and cut into half-moon (or quarter) slices
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 300 g eggplant, [about 1/2 of a large globe eggplant or 4 cups], diced into chunky cubes
- 400 g cooked fava beans, [one 540 ml-can, drained]
- 480 ml crushed tomatoes, [2 cups]
- 500 ml water, [2 cups] + more as needed
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger, see notes for link to a few tips on homemade ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon powder, [or 2 cubes]
- 2 – 3 bay leaves, depending on size
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup, adjust to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Parsley or coriander leaves, for garnish
- Cut delicata squash into 2 cm slices, remove the seeds, then cut each slice into 4 – 8 pieces.
- Cut the eggplant into chunky pieces of about 5 cm (2 inches).
- Heat oil in a pot on medium heat. Add minced ginger and delicata squash.
- Cook while stirring for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from pan, set aside.
- Add spices to the pan followed by bay leaves. Dry roast for 30 seconds then add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable bouillon powder, maple syrup and about 1/2 cup water.
- Simmer covered for 5 – 7 minutes while occasionally stirring.
- Add the squash and 2 cups water. Cover and continue to simmer for another 8 – 10 minutes.
- Then add the eggplant. Add more water if needed. Cover and simmer until squash and eggplant are soft (about 12 – 15 minutes).
- Add beans and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Turn off heat. Garnish with parsley.
- Serve warm with rice or bread.