My friend brought back some GORGEOUS persimmons and kabocha squash a few days ago from Buena Loma Gardens, an organic farm near Temecula. These persimmons were still on the branch and were just so pretty! I wanted to do a savory recipe with fruit for a change. Some people are not big fans of cooked fruit in recipes, but I urge you to give this a try!
COOKING WITH FRUIT
Persimmons aren’t the most common fruit, but here in California they grow beautifully. Firm persimmons have a root vegetable-like texture when cooked, and aren’t really that sweet, just enough to give a nice umami flavor which is what inspired this recipe. There is something about eating locally grown produce that puts us more in touch with nature and allows us to get the full nutritional benefits of a varied diet that changes with the seasons.
Rich textures of braised king oyster mushrooms, persimmons, and kabocha squash complimented with chili flakes give this dish a hearty earthiness and mild spiciness that is perfectly warming and satisfying for an autumn evening. The miso sake glaze that develops during braising is delicious and would be great paired with rice noodles or on a bed of wilted spinach or kale.
The earthiness of the mushrooms paired with the velvety melt in your mouth texture of the kabocha and the firm sweet persimmons make this rich and filling enough to satisfy even the meat eaters you might know. I hope you enjoy this taste adventure as much as I did. Let me know what you think in the comments!
- 1 small kabocha squash, peeled and seeded, cut into 1" thick wedges
- 2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon chili flakes or chili sauce
- 1 Tablespoon maple
- 1 Tablespoon miso
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 8 oyster mushrooms, halved lengthwise
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 3" piece ginger
- 2 small yellow onions, diced
- 1 cup sake
- 2½ cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup dried shiitake
- 1 large piece kombu seaweed
- 3 persimmons, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1 teaspoon potato starch or arrowroot
- 3 scallions, sliced on the bias
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the kabocha squash on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until tender. Check once halfway through the cooking time. remove from the oven and set aside. When it's cool enough to handle, cut the squash into bite sized pieces
- Whisk together the tamari, chili flakes, maple and miso. set aside
- Heat the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add the oyster mushrooms and saute until seared on both sides. When the mushrooms are tender, remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Add a little more oil and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute until the onions are soft. Add the sake to deglaze and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, dried shiitake mushrooms, and kombu. Add the tamari/chili/maple/miso mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to reduce. Strain and set aside.
- Wipe the pan and add 1 more Tablespoon of oil.
- Add the persimmons and pan sear on medium until the persimmons are golden.
- Add the sauce/braising liquid to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook the persimmons for 8-10 minutes until the persimmons are tender.
- Sift the potato starch or arrowroot into the pan and stir well. Simmer for 2 more minutes until thick.
- Serve by arranging the persimmons in a bowl and spooning some of the sauce over them. Place some of the oyster mushrooms and roasted kabocha squash in the bowls and garnish with sliced scallions and chili threads (if you can find them!)