the taste space

Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on November 6, 2010


I love to know how people choose their recipes. Especially food bloggers who tend to try a variety of food.

I scooped up a few butternut squashes when they were on sale, and they are great because they don’t take up coveted refrigerator space. I can plot and determine a strategy to use them in my cooking. What will I make first? Ina Garten’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with a Warm Cider Vinaigrette? Smitten Kitchen’s Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew or her Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese? The New Spanish Table‘s Lentil and Pumpkin Stew with Roasted Garlic? Joanne’s Tofu, Tempeh and Squash Peanut Butter Mole? Ottolenghi‘s Roasted Butternut Squash with Burnt Eggplant and Pomegranate Molasses? Fat Free Vegan’s Lemony Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash? 101 Cookbook’s Borlotti Bean Mole with Roasted Winter Squash? There are so many options to mull over as squash season starts up again.

So how did I narrow my choices? I didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes, so I kept my eyes out for the missing links. While I was walking around the St Lawrence Market, I stumbled upon fresh cranberry beans (borlotti beans). I had bought some dried Romano beans earlier to make the dish, but when I spotted the fresh beans, I couldn’t resist! The Borlotti Bean Mole was the chosen one. How could I not have chosen it initially? It has lots of great ingredients – caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, ground almonds, some kale is thrown in for greenery and it is smothered in a spicy chocolate mole sauce. Now, all I had to do was also find some kale. :)

My favourite part of St Lawrence Market is the Saturday morning farmer’s market in the North building. For early risers like me, it is great because it is probably one of the only places to buy groceries at 6am in the morning! :) I spotted a bunch of kale for $2. Let me not fool you, this bunch was HUGE. It could not fit into my bicycle pannier, it was that big. It did not even fit in my refrigerator. I had to store it outside on my balcony! And when I measured out 3 oz of kale for this recipe, I needed one leaf. Just one leaf!

I have never had a Mexican mole before. For the other newbies out there, it is pronounced mo-lay, not mole like the skin lesion. I was corrected, thanks Rob! My Mexican modesty was revealed! ;)

While I generally am a bit apprehensive with traditionally spicy dishes, I really enjoyed this. I modified Heidi’s recipe (who in turn adapted it from Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me) to increase the beans and squash, and I used Aleppo chili flakes instead of the jalapeno peppers. The chocolate softens the spicy kick. I otherwise kept things the same and really enjoyed it. It takes a while to make, at least an hour prep, with a further 2 hours of slow cooking, but you have a wonderfully fragrant meal. I think you could skip the 2 hour cooking time, if you really need to. It would still taste great. Everything was basically cooked before it went in and when I snuck in a lick before I popped it into the oven, it was very tasty. It was also slightly colourful at this point. Two hours later, the flavours were more robust, deeper, darker and savoury but it was still great beforehand. The cranberry beans are creamy, the squash is sweet, the kale has a slight bite to it and it is smothered in a spicy chocolate sauce. Who says you can only have chocolate as a sweet treat? It is wonderful savoury as well. :) Enjoy!

This is my submission to this week’s BSI featuring chilies and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen.

Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash

2 cups fresh cranberry beans (borlotti beans) – can also substitute dry Romano or pinto beans
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and seeded
drizzle of olive oil
a handful of big leaves of kale (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound of fresh plum tomatoes, chopped or 14-ounce can
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 cup ground almonds, toasted
2 ounces 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the borlotti beans and cook for about 10-15 minute until they are just cooked or even slightly undercooked. Drain and cool under cold running water, and set aside.

2. Cut the squash flesh into good-sized chunks, about 2 cm squares, place them in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil. Roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes until caramelized on the outside but still firm. Reduce the oven temperature to 250F.

3. Cut the kale across the leaf into 2cm slices. Melt the butter into an oven-proof casserole dish (pot) and fry the onion and chili flakes gently over a low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until caramelized. Add the garlic and fry for three minutes more. Add the tomatoes and paprika, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the ground almonds, chocolate, squash, borlotti beans, kale, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Cover the casserole and put it in the oven to cook gently for 2 hours.

Serves 4-5.

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34 Responses

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  1. Rob said, on November 6, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    Your welcome for the thanks, and thanks for the molé! It was really great.

  2. Ricki said, on November 6, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    I love mole! Never made it with beans (or squash). . . sounds terrific. I think I have an idea for dinner tonight. . . ! ;) (and I must admit that on first reading the title, I thought it was “Cranberry [and] Bean Mole”! ;) I didn’t know they were called cranberry beans!

  3. biz319 said, on November 6, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Thanks so much for your BSI submissions – they all look amazing! Hope you have a great weekend!

  4. Lisa Turner said, on November 6, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Such a unique recipe. Thanks so much for your submission to MLLA. I will also note that your picture is just gorgeous.

  5. scrumptious said, on November 6, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    This sounds incredible. I must make it immediately! Mole and butternut squash seem like such a perfect combination, but I’ve never thought of it before! I have a ton of gorgeous Rancho Gordo cranberry beans waiting to be made into something, and this is what I’ll be using them for!

  6. Lyndsay said, on November 6, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    I have never had mole before but have been wanting to try it. I think I’ve been afraid :-)
    I enjoyed reading about the evolution of this dish and how you finally came to decide on it. I love butternut squash and would enjoy any of the inititial recipe ideas you posted – but I liked this even more because it was so adventurous.

  7. heather said, on November 7, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Cranberry beans, mole, butternut squash — I’m intrigued. Definitely something we’re interested in here in southeast Texas. Can’t wait to put these flavors to work together in our kitchen!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  8. [...] Cranberry bean mole with butternut squash (cook beans ahead of time) Green salad with celery and [...]

  9. [...] still had two pounds of kale left over from the Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash, so I searched for more ways to use kale.  I had bookmarked Susan’s African Pineapple Peanut [...]

  10. [...] Taste Space: Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash: [...]

  11. Dana said, on November 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    I have a little bag of fresh cranberry beans sitting in my freezer. What a wonderful way to use them!

  12. Lindsey said, on November 8, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Looks absolutely delicious! I’m going to give this a try.

  13. Jenn@slim-shoppin said, on November 8, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Wow, what an amazing dish you have there! Great BSI entry. I love the complexity of flavors going on.

    I haven’t used many of those ingredients, I’ll be on the look out now.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  14. Sophia said, on November 8, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Oh, this dish looks fabulous! I love the picture too! If you’re interested, you should submit it to Recipe4Living’s Tasty Thanksgiving Recipe Contest :)

  15. sara said, on November 8, 2010 at 10:00 PM

    This sounds really awesome! I don’t think I’ve seen any combination of ingredients like this – really unique and sounds soooooo delicious! :)

  16. Maria @ Scandifoodie said, on November 9, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    This is such a great recipe! I’ll have to give this a go!

  17. [...] my quest to find interesting ways to use my large bunch of kale (superfood #1), I stumbled upon a vanilla sweet potato and kale soup by KathEats. I adapted it by [...]

  18. [...] I am neither a vegan, nor a vegetarian, nor do I plan to write 20-30 posts this month about vegan food. In fact, most of my vegan recipes are serendipitous as I search out healthy recipes.  But I figured I’d pay homage to Vegan MoFo by posting vegan-friendly dishes all month. So far, so good. [...]

  19. Cara said, on November 17, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    What an interesting dish. I admit to reading “cranberry mole” too which is something I made recently… I love the use of beans here though!

  20. [...] I serendipitously stumbled upon fresh cranberry beans the other week, I couldn’t remember how many I needed. 1 cup? 2 cups? Well, I bought 4 cups just to make [...]

  21. mangocheeks said, on December 5, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    Lovely.

    And lucky you to have fresh cranberry beans0.

  22. heather said, on December 6, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Cooking an adaptation of this tonight. Can’t wait to try it … will follow up with what I’m sure will be rave reviews!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  23. Ashley said, on January 18, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    What an intriguing dish! I’ve had mole sauce I think once before but never made it at home. I wish you’d taken a picture of this insanely large bunch of kale! It sounds awesome.

    • Saveur said, on January 19, 2011 at 10:32 AM

      I plan on rekindling my love of kale in the near future, so I’ll see about snapping a picture of my next batch, Ashley. :)

  24. [...] The New Spanish Table, and I had been eyeing this recipe for months (I first mentioned it on my list of things to make with butternut squash back in November and again in January!). Honestly, I waited too long.  This is a lovely, hearty [...]

  25. [...] I had adored Cotter’s previous recipes, we still trucked on with making the cucumber and coriander salsa. Rob finally sat down to eat it, [...]

  26. Angela said, on October 3, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Just made your Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash… it’s in the oven right now. I, too, snuck in a bite before I placed it in the oven, and it is DELICIOUS! I used a hubbard squash instead of butternut. Thanks for posting this! Really great!

    • Saveur said, on October 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM

      Hey Angela, So happy to hear you enjoyed this as much as me. :)

  27. [...] (Caldo Verde), Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry, African Pineapple Kale Peanut Stew AND  Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash. The bundles were huge. This week, they had smaller bundles, all from the top part of the plants. [...]

  28. [...] with cranberry beans and roasted butternut squash or with tofu and [...]

  29. [...] Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash [...]

  30. […] and White Bean Salad with Dill, Sushi Bowl with Asparagus and Avocado, Green Soup with Ginger, Cranberry Bean Mole with Roasted Butternut Squash, and Nikki’s Healthy […]

  31. […] got the idea to try out my own mole after reading a post by Saveur who made an interesting squash and cranberry bean (also known as borlotti beans) version. But we had […]

  32. […] am no stranger to mole, but our recent trip to Mexico City, gave me an appreciation for Mexican food like no […]


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