Kimchi & Winter Squash Stew

I’ve got one more recipe from boat cooking in Thailand, but this isn’t it. This recipe is what has been getting me through the winter. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve made it and not posted it – it’s ridiculous. But I finally took a picture and now here it is.

Kimchi stew is infinitely customizable. Make it with pork belly, or spare ribs; throw in loads of extra veggies and top it with sprouts and herbs; top a piping hot bowl with an egg and stir it up to ramp up the texture into something silky and luscious. My obsession began early last fall, and I must confess that prior to that I hadn’t eaten much Korean food. This stew has carried me through the winter – warming me while I worked at outdoor farmer’s markets, clearing my sinuses when I felt like I was coming down with something, or comforting me after a long day.

This particular version came about when I got a red kuri squash in my CSA. I had never had one before, but I figured that winter squash has a nice depth of sweetness that would play nicely with the spicy kimchi. Oh man, I had no idea. When I cut into the red kuri, I was struck by the melon-y aroma and knew I had made the right decision. You can use any winter squash, but red kuri (if you can find it) has a thin skin, so peeling isn’t necessary, and the flesh is so sweet and smooth it’s almost creamy. High recommend, but if it’s not available butternut squash or acorn squash will also work well.

Kimchi & Winter Squash Stew

Kimchi & Winter Squash Stew
serves 4

2 lbs winter squash, peeled if necessary & cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups kimchi, drained with liquid reserved
2 Tbsp gochujang*
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 cups vegetable stock – I used unsalted vegetable stock, if you are also using unsalted, make sure to add a bit of salt or an additional tablespoon of soy sauce
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

To serve: 2 cups cooked sushi rice, cilantro, sesame oil, & sesame seeds

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and squash until just becoming translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the drained kimchi and do not stir. You are looking for it to get a little brown. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, then add the gochujang, kimchi liquid, & vegetable stock. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes, you want the squash to cook all the way through.

Season with soy sauce and scallions and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve over rice and top with a drizzle of sesame oil, cilantro, & sesame seeds.

*gochujang is Korean red chile paste that’s a bit sweet. Look for it in the international aisle at the grocery store or a local Asian supermarket.

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