A flavorful casserole made with frozen, organic produce? You can grow that! This is what I’d call a “world beat” casserole. It has southwestern flavors, with all sorts of other ingredients invited into the cross-cultural party. It’s a great dish to use frozen Tuscan kale and winter squash from the garden.
Sometimes I get an idea for a dish based on what I have on hand and it turns out to be OK but not worth making again. Those dishes never make it to my Wednesday for Foodies posts. This casserole is something that I will prepare again because the flavors and textures worked very well and it tastes delicious. I started off thinking that I’d do something in the Mexican flavors direction…maybe because it was Super Bowl Sunday and everyone was talking about nachos. But I wanted to use chickpeas, an distinctly un-Mexican legume, not to mention some of the frozen kale and winter squash from my vegetable garden. Not a traditional combination, but one that I thought would work. Fortunately, it did work and it was yummy.
2 Poblano peppers (you could use red or green bell peppers)
2 cups frozen or fresh Tuscan Kale, chopped
2 cups cooked winter squash
2 cloves garlic, smashed or chopped
4 to 5 tablespoons cilantro paste/pesto
2 1/2 to 3 cups frozen tomatoes or one large can of Italian tomatoes
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (NOTE! these are extremely spicy. Drain the sauce from the peppers and add that to your tomatoes first before you add the peppers themselves. We love food that’s pretty spicy and the sauce with only one small diced chipotle pepper was plenty of heat for us.)
1 8 oz package grated cheese of your choice. I used a six-cheese Italian blend. (Hey…it’s cross-cultural, remember?)
Note: What to do with so much winter squash and Kale from the garden? Bake the squash until it’s mushy, scoop it out of the skins and freeze in small containers. Wash and chop the kale leaves and stem them with about a cup of water until they are well wilted, stirring once or twice. Strain the wilted leaves and pack loosely into freezer bags. Freeze them flat on a cookie sheet. You’ll be able to take out as much kale as you want through the winter as you’re cooking.