We have been cooking up a storm recently, testing recipes for our slow cooker series. It’s been fun and challenging to adapt recipes for the slow cooker. We have picked recipes that we love and that we thought would work well in a slow cooker. I found out the hard way that our choices don’t always pan out: my cauliflower dish is too tender for the slow cooker and found a home in the compost instead of a dinner plate.
I thought it fitting to pick everyone’s favorite Afghan recipe, kadoo, for the slow cooker. Made with either pumpkin or butternut squash, it’s a great winter dish to serve as an appetizer at a dinner party. Guests are always dazzled by its sweet and savory flavors. Kadoo cooks fast for a crock pot recipe (around three hours). What I love is that you don’t have to watch the pot and can safely focus on the rest of the meal. Just throw it all in the slow cooker three hours before the party starts and you will have a delicious appetizer ready when everyone arrives. Of course it is also perfectly suited to be part of the main course as well.
The photo shows how I would typically serve kadoo as an appetizer. But I must admit that after I took the photos I gobbled it up without bread or other accompaniments. It was delicious!
Sweet and Savory Squash with Yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, pureed in food processor or finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 1 tbsp.)
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and diced
2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3 to 4-inch large chunks
1 small jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and cut in 6 pieces
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. ground turmeric
¼ cup sugar
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
Yogurt sauce (recipe below)
Nan or pita bread for dipping
Large oval or round slow cooker
Heat the oil in a 14-inch sauté pan or medium casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Once the onion mixture is tender, add jalapeno, tomato paste, turmeric, sugar and broth. Stir, bring to a boil and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.
In the meant time, arrange the squash pieces in the slow cooker; place the larger, thicker pieces in the bottom and the thin pieces on top. It’s o.k. if the pieces overlap. Tuck the pieces snugly in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the squash so all the pieces are covered with the sauce. Place the lid on the pot and cook on low for 3 hours. The squash should be fork tender but still hold its shape. If it is not cooked enough, let it go another ½ to 1 hour in the slow cooker.
To serve as an individual appetizer, pour a generous spoonful of yogurt sauce on the serving plate and swirl it around the plate with the back of the spoon. Place one large piece of the squash on the yogurt; finish with a large dollop of yogurt on top of the squash.
To serve as a main dish, arrange the pumpkin in a large shallow bowl. Spoon the yogurt sauce over the pumpkin and pour any remaining yogurt around the outside edges of the pumpkin.
Serve with warm Nan or pita bread.
1 cup full fat plain yogurt
1/2 to 1 ½ tsp. dried garlic (depending on your personal taste)
1 tsp. salt
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients.
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course, 6 to 8 as an appetizer.
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