Black Bean and Butternut Tacos

Today happens to be Mike’s 30th birthday, so I’m spending most of it in the kitchen making a Middle Eastern feast, which I’ll have more details on tomorrow. This weekend we decided to get a new chair for the living room (a birthday chair…?) and we had Ellie test it out. She approved.

I am so, SO happy it’s butternut squash season again. First I put it on pizza, and now I’m putting it in tacos. I still haven’t made my favorite curried squash soup this season, but it’s coming!

Mike and I both loved these tacos, and I loved how easy they were to make. The pickled shallots are a definite must, and they’re simpler to make than you’d expect (or at least I was surprised how simple they were…)

The squash just gets diced and sauteed in a skillet until it’s tender but not falling apart, then you mix in some beans and you’re ready! I love them with a generous spoonful of plain yogurt, which I used because I just discovered that ALL the sour cream at Trader Joe’s has gelatin in it. So lame. Fortunately yogurt was just as satisfying, and gelatin-free.

(adapted from Food Network)

pickled shallots
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
8 large shallots, peeled

1 small butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups black beans
8 soft corn tortillas
chopped cilantro
sour cream (omit if vegan)

First, make the shallots. Combine all ingredients except the shallots in a medium saucepan and heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the shallots and boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool. You may not use them all with the tacos, but they’ll keep in a jar in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

To make the tacos, peel the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cut into small bite-sized cubes.

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add the squash and stir, then sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-high, stirring frequently, until the squash is tender but not mushy, 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the beans and cook until heated through. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Heat the tortillas over the flame of a gas burner, in the oven, or in the microwave. Assemble tacos with the squash and bean mixture, some sour cream (or yogurt), pickled shallots, and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro.

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