Black bean, red pepper and squash casserole (Martinique)

Martinique is an island in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean and an overseas region of France, so a part of the Eurozone and officially French-speaking, though the local Creole is also used. The French have also influenced the local culture. Martinique was “found” by Columbus, though it had been been inhabited by indigenous tribes. Most of the population is descended from African slaves who used to work on the sugar plantations. Martinique is a popular tourist destination, not only for its beaches, but also tropical beaches, mountains and volcanoes. Rum and bananas are the main exports. Local music is very important for the culture, including the genres zouk and bèlè, which also incorporates dance.

The Martinique cuisine is a fusion of African, French, Caribbean and South Asian. For example one of the most popular dishes is chicken colombo, a curry with Sri Lankan influences, seasoned with spice, tamarind, coconut milk and often wine and rum. In general many dishes are quite spicy and may be flavoured with e.g parsley, thyme, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, vanilla and ginger. Seafood is used in most dishes, often served as a curry or soup. Besides rice, other starches like yam, cassava and breadfruit are eaten. Other popular ingredients include bananas, plantains, chayote, avocado and squash. Desserts often feature rum and/or pineapple.

A veganized version of this recipe made for a pretty nice, slightly tart casserole, even if nothing special. I roasted my squash a little too long, which meant that instead of cubes it turned into a mush when I mixed the ingredients… But I don’t think that was necessarily a bad thing.

Black bean, red pepper and squash casserole

Black bean, red pepper and squash casserole

1 butternut squash
1 1/2 cup/3.6 dl sliced onion
2 tsp oil
1/4 cup/0.6 dl dry sherry
2 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup/1.2 dl soy yoghurt + 1/2 cup/1.2 dl sour cream (or 1 cup cashew yoghurt)
1/4 cup/0.6 dl minced parsley
1 cup/2.4 dl cooked black beans
1 cup/2.4 dl cooked brown rice
1 cup/2.4 dl grated vegan cheese or 1 tsp corn starch + 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Split squash in half and place on a baking sheet, cut side down. Bake the squash for 20 minutes.

In a large skillet saute the onion at medium heat. Add the oil, sherry, red peppers and garlic. Stir-fry until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove the seeds from the squash and peel. Cut it in cubes and mix all the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture into a large greased baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350F/175C. Serve hot. Makes six portions (or so).


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