Photo and Recipe Credit: Jennifer Hess of Last Night's Dinner
The garden is on the verge of a tsunami of vegetables. Last night we enjoyed the finest of dining -- entirely from our farm with the exception of the salt and olive oil.
I made the following recipe for Calabaza and it was as fine a meals as I've had anywhere on this planet. In fact, it had a taste of Ecuador -- a flavor I was afraid I'd never be able to recreate. I harvested the first fresh garlic of the year, picked fresh oregano and corriander, put the hot peppers in my pocket, and gathered some yellow summer squash. All just moments before I added them to the dish. It was as fresh and delicious as a meal can be. On the side were roasted fresh beets and new potatoes so tender the skins peeled off in my hands. I also enjoy a glass of black current wine from Strawbale Winery in South Dakota. I've taken to buying wine by the case from these folks.
I have such a feeling of accomplishment that I can not only grow our food, but prepare a dish entirely from Big Stone County that makes me close my eyes to savor the pleasure of eating it.
1 chicken, skin-on, cut into pieces (or use your favorite parts)
kosher or sea salt
olive or canola oil
2-3 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 red onion, peeled and diced
1 fresh chile pepper, seeds and stem removed, minced
3 medium zucchini or other summer squash, cut into evenly sized chunks
2-3 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into evenly sized chunks
dried oregano, Mexican if possible
fresh coriander (optional)
3 ears of corn, kernels removed from cobs
Season the chicken pieces with salt and brown them in hot oil in a large, wide skillet, in batches if necessary. Remove the browned pieces and set aside. Add onion, garlic and chile, season with salt, and cook briefly until the onion begins to soften and the mixture is fragrant, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the zucchini and tomatoes and stir to combine with the onion mixture. Add the oregano and coriander (if using), return the chicken pieces to the pan, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Add the corn and cook uncovered for just a few minutes, until the sauce is slightly reduced. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve with rice or warmed tortillas.