Redolent with honey, cinnamon, and aniseed, this stew highlights mild but exotic flavors typically associated with European cuisine, but which are also commonly used in Mexico. Calabaza is a pumpkinlike winter squash. Butternut squash is a good substitute. If you prefer a smoother consistency, use a potato masher to break up the squash.
5 poblano chiles (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon aniseed
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
10 cup (2-inch) pieces peeled calabaza squash (about 3 pounds)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons Crema Mexicana
1/2 cup roasted pumpkinseed kernels
How to Make It
Cut poblano chiles in half; discard seeds and membranes. Place the chile halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 5 minutes or until blackened. Place in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel chiles; discard skins. Chop chiles.
Place aniseed and cinnamon in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add cinnamon mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add chopped chiles, squash, broth, water, honey, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until squash is tender.
Drizzle each serving with Crema Mexicana; sprinkle with pumpkinseeds.