You can’t judge a book by its cover.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star
But vegetables are another story: The more vibrant the flesh, the more nutrients it contains. For instance, orange-hued winter squash are naturally chock-full of beta-carotene, fiber, magnesium and potassium.
The Star’s Pork, Fennel and Squash Stew combines squash with cubes of lean pork loin, silky half-moons of fennel, ribbons of leek, bits of red pepper and coins of carrot cooked in a reduced-sodium broth flavored with diced tomatoes and red wine.
Although stews are typically built on tough, economy cuts of meat that require long cooking times to break down the collagen, pork loin contains minimal fat, which helps create a fork-tender dish in record time.
Cooking tips: Pierce squash several times with the tip of a knife and microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Allow to stand 2 to 3 minutes. Using a heavy, sharp knife, carefully cut off stem and cut in half. Scoop out seeds with a teaspoon. Cut squash into 1 1/2 -inch wedges. Peel each wedge, then cut into 3/4 -inch cubes.
The layers of a leek typically contain grit and sand, so be sure to rinse well.