This weekend, I witnessed a miracle.

Hmm, what’s that you say?  Did I learn all of the foramina (i.e. holes) of the skull and which cranial nerves, arteries, and veins pass through them?

Um. No.

Did I figure out how to differentiate one indiscriminate pink-ish area on a gross specimen of the brain from all of the other indiscriminate pink-ish areas?

Absolutely not.  That would be preposterous.  Necessary.  But preposterous.


While those would be some pretty world class miracles, especially considering the fact that they actually have to become realities by Wednesday at 8AM (so if whoever controls the miracles out there could make them happen, I’d really appreciate it), the miracle that happened to fall into my life on Saturday morning around 11AM was far superior.


I was at the Union Square Greenmarket, haplessly minding my own business, when it happened.

I had happened upon one particular stand that was carrying about twelve or so different varieties of plums.  Italian, emperor’s, elephant heart, Santa Rosa.  All pretty and plump, skin taut and just about ready to burst with all of the sweet juice they held inside.  (Talk about food porn.)  I scuttled from bin to bin, absolutely clueless about what any of them tasted like, fruitlessly (pun so very much intended) trying to eavesdrop on the shoppers around me, imagining that at least one of them had to be a plum connoisseur and thus would inevitably begin spouting off information about each of the varietals, because that is the kind of thing that connoisseurs like to do.

This miracle has nothing to do with plums, however, and so all of this so far is merely contextual.  I should get on with it. Basically. In short.  I was preoccupied. (Understatement of the year.) I finally said to myself, “To hell with it all!” and decided to take one of each.

Just as I whirled around, little white plastic plum-filled bag in hand.  I saw it.  Them.  Whatever.


There.  At the stand across from the one that I had just been hemming and hawing over.  Was a huge display.

Of winter squash.

Local, organic, now officially in season winter squash.

Remember the pterodactyl noise of pretzel roll fame?  That happened.

Followed by a mad dash across the five feet that lay in between me and my saviors. Butternut, kabocha, acorn, kuri.  It was like a dream.  I stared and drooled for all of five minutes before the phrase “internal acoustic meatus” popped into my head and I was immediately reminded that no, this was not a dream.  (In dreams, one is not required to know any of the anatomy of the skull.)

It was a miracle.

And so I bought as much as my poor little already quite full eco-friendly reusable cloth bag could carry and headed home.  Where I then turned it into this heady, cinnamon-spiced curry.  An aphrodisiac (at least to me), if ever I’ve had one.

Damn, that’s sexy.


The Regional Recipes round up for PUERTO RICO has been posted and a new country has been announced!  This month we are headed to JAPAN to please send me your recipes by September 30!  

Also, I would like to share with you a fun FREE e-cookbook that has just come out (featuring a few recipes by yours truly).  The e-cookbook features smart schooltime recipes for snacks and lunch food that are easy, fast and healthy.  Guaranteed kid-tested, mother approved kind of stuff.  You can download it here.

Spicy Pork with Cinnamon, Winter Squash and Raisins
Serves 4, adapted from Bittman’s How To Cook Everything

NOTE – The original recipe did not call for winter squash (I used kabocha) or raisins.  However, I felt that it needed a vegetable to bulk it up and what goes better with cinnamon than winter squash!  Because adding a whole kabocha (a little over 4 pounds) more than doubled the volume, I also doubled the sauce.  Midway through cooking, I felt that it was a bit too acidic and so I added raisins and brown sugar to cut the acidity and to make it taste more like what I had imagined it should.  This worked wonders for the dish, turning it from something basically inedible to a pot of pure cinnamon spice comfort.  I’m including the recipe as I made it.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 tsp coriander
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Pinch ground cloves
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
2 lb boneless pork (I used a pork loin), excess fat removed and cut into chunks
1 kabocha squash, cut into large dice
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup raisins (I used Monukku raisins)
2 tbsp brown sugar

1. Warm the oil over medium heat in a large casserole or pot that can be covered.  After about 2 minutes, add the garlic, ginger, spices, and salt, stirring, for a minute or two, until the fragrances are released.

2. Add the pork, kabocha, and vinegar.  Stir.  Bring to a boil and turn the heat to low.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender, at least one hour. Midway through,a dd in the raisins and brown sugar.  After the hour, taste and add more red pepper, cinnamon, salt, vinegar, or brown sugar if necessary.  Serve over white rice.

This is my submission to this week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs and also to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Graziana of Erbe in Cucina.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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94 Responses to Bittman’s Spicy Pork with Cinnamon, Winter Squash, and Raisins

  1. It’s 7 a.m. and I could go for a bowl of this right now. I can relate to the feeling of elation when those winter squash pop up in the farmers’ markets. I not only have to put some in the pot right away, but have to have a store of them in the cellar (o.k., basement–but it is an old house) for late fall and winter security.


  2. newlywed says:

    I’m excited about winter squash too! My husband, ever the romantic, bought me a butternut squash Friday night. No flowers. Just the squash.
    Well, you can’t eat flowers, can you?

  3. Even though I love seeing palm trees everyday, I will miss fall in NY tremendously!

  4. Louanne says:

    I adore winter squash, and this looks delicious! On Thursday, a friend of mine brought me a butternut squash from her garden, and I made a curry soup with it yesterday. Fall can’t get here soon enough.

  5. Simply Life says:

    ooh now I’m excited to know they’re back in season! Wow, and this looks like you made those squash proud (and possibly also made them blush a bit) 🙂

  6. Cara says:

    I’m so glad I’m not alone! I’ve been dreaming about squash too. Well, it’s not a dream anymore because I took home a big butternut to roast & puree because I *need* it in my oatmeal and protein shakes asap.

  7. I love the winter squash…have been thinking of making some squash curry and pour all over the steamed rice….yours looks so good with all the spices!

  8. Victoria K. says:

    Wow, this looks so good! I love winter squash too! I will have to head down to the Union Square Greenmarket and check those out now that I’m LIVING IN NY!

  9. elra says:

    Miracle indeed when I saw this curry. It is so pleasing to the eye, and I know how delicious it is.

  10. Mary says:

    What a gorgeous dish, Joanne. I so love his recipes and your interpretation of them. This is simply wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  11. Adriana says:

    Yay for fall! Your curry looks absolutely delicious!

  12. I am a very rare eater of Pork [now] and u wouldn want to know the [cute] reason:-)), but a bowl of this deliciousness with steamed rice is perfectly something i would love!!!

  13. The harbinger of fall have arrived! I like that you kept the skin on the kabocha on. I’ve always enjoyed this squash in curry. Are you going to do the 12 days (or was it weeks?) of squash again this year?

  14. Ameena says:

    I bet this would be just as good minus the meat…I would love to eat this right now! Sigh…I still have about 12 hours before I can eat. It’s going to be a long day.

    I’m so excited about fall too!

  15. Kristen says:

    So which plum was your favorite? Did you eat them all plain or make something wonderful? My Santa Rosa tree produced a plethora of fruit this year and I still have two big bowls to use or lose. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  16. Here’s what’s weird: even though it’s still about 100 degrees, I’m starting to crave slowly cooked winter squash. The sauce sounds fantastic for them here!

  17. Pam says:

    A bag full of different plums – lucky girl!! I am loving this recipe – it’s full of great flavors and textures. YUM.

  18. Faith says:

    I nearly jumped for joy and screamed in ecstacy when I saw winter squash at the market yesterday. You are truly a girl after my own heart, Joanne!

  19. Traitor! You’ve welcomed fall right into your own kitchen. SIGH> What a dish! I can almost taste the different spices exploding on my tongue…hey, wait. It’s summer, dammit! I’m bookmarking this for FALL. You hear me? Fall begins in October in my part of California. Still, one teensy taste wouldn’t hurt, would it?

  20. Amy says:

    As much as I want summer to go on FOR.E.VER, I do enjoy Fall (especially now back in CA, where Fall consists of 65-70 degrees, and not a Minnesota 50), and your anticipated squash posts, of course! I have got to get my kids on board with zucchini, dammit!!!

  21. Shannon says:

    but but but… peaches… corn… tomatoes… blueberries… :/ sigh, i love winter squash, too…

  22. The Mom Chef says:

    Gorgeous. This looks like winter comfort food taken to a new level! I’ll have to get you hooked up with my 4 year-old daughter. She’s a collector of skeletons (Halloween is the perfect season for us) and I’m teaching her the major bones right now. Since my memory fails me after the majors like tibia, fibula, carpals and metacarpals, I’ll let you teach her the rest. 🙂

  23. Great flavor profile. My kind of dish.

  24. Mmm, the sexiest flavours of fall!
    Bring on the warm and spicy. Great dish!

  25. You are a Bittman fanatic! Did I tell you he’s coming to Boston next year to speak? It’s already on my calendar. 🙂

  26. Mo 'Betta says:

    Awesome cookbook! I’ve downloaded my copy – thanks to all involved!!

  27. girlichef says:

    That’s super sexy! Hooray for cooler weather…and winter squash 😉 I’m off to check out that e-book…very cool woman!

  28. Katerina says:

    You know how much i love cinnamon in cooking. This pork looks really creamy and ful of unique flavors.

  29. So my post would have started,

    “I was at the market and bought some plums and winter squash…”

    Wow, I love how you write, it made me excited to hear about you buying winter squash! Not that’s it’s no exciting, it’s one of my favorites. Not to mention, I could picture you there, amongst all the people, picking plums. I could almost see you turning around and seeing a bin of squash with lights around it and harp music playing. Very visual. You rock!

    The food looks scrumptious as usual! I’ll be buying some soon but I doubt I’ll be seeing the lights or hearing the harp music.

  30. Joanne that sounds fantastic! I love the spices in there.

    Great pics too!

  31. Karen says:

    This dish just screams “Fall!” Great idea to add the raisins and brown sugar!

  32. Christy says:

    Miraculous and sexy all in one dish – you are GOOD!!

  33. My miracle was finding Italian plums at our local farmers market Joanne.

  34. Monet says:

    It is hard to believe that fall and winter are indeed approaching…especially here in this Texas heat! But I am all for celebrating the season with a warm and hearty dish. I love winter squash and I’m going to keep my eye out for it too!

  35. tigerfish says:

    Oh goodness! Season for squash already or season to squash? ;p

  36. Natalie says:

    I’m so very jealous–I am READY for winter squash and it hasn’t yet hit our markets. I’m on the lookout though! Glad you got to witness the miracle 🙂

  37. That squash sounds out of this world, I love the spices, you used.

  38. Reeni says:

    I was elated the other day too upon spotting the overflowing bins of squash! That makes this dish so much more appealing for me – and the cinnamon seals the deal!

  39. A perfect dish for upcoming fall! The combo of pork, winter squash and raisins sounds excellent!

  40. Eliana says:

    Girl – I sometimes forget I’m reading a food blog when I read your blog posts. hehe. Hope you had a great weekend.

  41. whoaaaaa yes! the perfect dish for autumn

  42. Kristin says:

    Yum! I love fall for this reason alone. Plus the changing of the leaves is pretty but I won’t get much of that here. Thanks for sharing the cookbook.

  43. OohLookBel says:

    Plums or squash? I don’t know which one I’d go for first, but probably the plums, since they are rarer over here. Love your treatment of the squash, though, especially with the fantastic spicy pork. Most delicious!

  44. naomi says:

    I love this post. The dish sounds fab! Like you, I love winter squashes and can’t wait for them. They haven’t quite hit locally for me yet, so reading your post has me drooling and even more anxious for them to hit my market.

  45. Indie.Tea says:

    Winter squash?!?! Wow, don’t know if I’m jealous or sad that summer is over…
    The dish looks amazing though. I really like MB’s recipes, because of its Asian/Indian influences…

  46. Lori says:

    This is exactly the kind of dish I’m hungry for! I had similar feelings for winter squash this weekend. I was able to get some spaghetti squash at our FM and it had me thinking of all kinds of autumn cuisine possibilities.

  47. Megan says:

    I love our farmer’s market, but I always find about 10 reasons why I need to buy extra everything! 🙂 Winter squash, wow! Haven’t seen those yet around here. But, as the cool air rolls in I expect to see them soon, even this weekend soon. Curry sounds delicious!

  48. Raina says:

    Beautiful dish! It screams fall and looks wonderfully delcious!

    You are so funny. I can just picture you at the market:) I wish I had a place like that nearby.

  49. Shirley says:

    Joanne, that e-book is just what I want, I dont know how to thank you for it, still havent gone through all of it yet I know its cool! Keep up the good work.

  50. Shirley says:

    P.S more than a mere coincidence, your falafel featured in the book is the one I had bookmarked for future use!

  51. Your dual obsessions for Bittman and winter squash have worked wonders here. I can almost taste this in my mouth. ALMOST. But not quite. Let’s remedy that soon, yeah? If my schedule ever allows.

    Btw, I’m off today for some odd reason which is why it’s 9.30am and I’m reading your blog. This will likely never happen again for the rest of September.

  52. Looks like you’re definitely having your own food “event” here. Please keep the winter squash comin’, Joanne. Cause I love the wonderful, and yes sexy ;p, things you do with it!

  53. Biren says:

    You are so on it Joanne! Must be the first squash recipe I’ve seen. I love winter squash and this looks like a winner.

  54. polwig says:

    I want a Farmers Market like that here… This looks amazing…

  55. Great post – definitely got me in the mood for Fall! Fabulous photos as well – Cheers:)

  56. Barbara says:

    Great dish for fall, Joanne. I love it when I see all the squash in the market; it’s as good as falling leaves. 🙂
    My mother used to make the most divine hubbard squash. Wish I could remember what she did and how she could tell if she was buying a nice dry one. The wet ones were so icky.

  57. Amazing flavors! This looks Soooo good! I love and miss the Union Square Market with a passion! We used to go all the time, after reading this I felt like I was there!

  58. Kris says:

    ah the perfect winter dish. This meal is what I love about cold weather!

  59. wow looks amazing as ever and you had me guessing as to the miracle he he

  60. teresa says:

    oh my goodness, i have never had a combination of flavors like this before, but i’m already in love. i must try this!

  61. Julie says:

    dude i was SO pissed this weekend. i specifically went to get huge honkin yellow squashes at the farmstands out east and my usual go-to was OUT. that’s what i get for going on a monday. i did see a ridiculously huge butternut but passed on it. i want my yellow sum squash.

    i’m tired today if ic ome over will you cook me dinner? hahaha

  62. Kelsey says:

    come on, pork with raisins and squash!! YES YES and YUM!

    congrats on releasing ur e-book! hopefully u’ll have ur own set of paperbacks and hardcovers in the near future, u totally deserve to get more awareness for your genius creations!!


  63. Dawn says:

    I am that excited about the squashes too! FINALLY someone is on the same level of squash excitement as me. I bought myself a GIGANTIC butternut squash about which many jokes were made by all the boys over the house for my hubby’s fantasy football draft. I said What. It’s a butternut squash. Yes I like them that big. Jeez.

  64. Stella says:

    Ooh, squash is something to look forward to or directly at now (smile). Winter squash is so delicious, and your spicy pork with cinnamon and said ‘alien’ (are these ones aliens too?) sounds delectable too!

  65. Juliana says:

    Joanne, this pork dish looks fabulous…and look so yummie with rice…what a great meal 🙂

  66. Dan says:

    If we weren’t having turkey at thanksgiving, I’d be lobbying for this! I’m passing this on to my mother-in-law. I know she’ll try it for one of our visits.

  67. Giovanna says:

    Damn girl, that is sexy! I have little baby squash seedlings growing in my garden as we speak, I can’t wait for the little buggers!

  68. I bought my first butternut squash at the farmers’ market on Saturday and made it for my daughter’s birthday dinner last night. I felt that excitement too 😉

    Delicious looking dish!

  69. Jessica says:

    This sounds amazing! I have a beautiful butternut squash growing in my garden and I will have to use it to try out this recipe! YUM!

  70. This dish has such a warm hum to it, I love how raisins go soft and sweet and the cinnamon would give the dish such a nice flavour!

  71. LOVE Bittman, and this is a great one! Yum – anything with raisins and pork in it has GOT to be great!

  72. I could definitely get excited with you about the plums, but if I hadn’t seen this yummy recipe, I might not have been too excited about the squash.

  73. Maria says:

    Great dish here! Bittman’s recipes are always winners!

  74. Debinhawaii says:

    Spicy pork, cinnamon and squash…Damn that’s sexy! 😉 What a great aromatic dish to welcome fall.

  75. Oh my. This sounds OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! And actually has me excited for a cool fall evening when I can cuddle up in a blanket on my couch and gobble this up while watching terrible TV. Yes, that’s a good thing!


  76. Elizabeth says:

    I love the 11th hour deployment of raisins and brown sugar; great improvisation, Joanne. The results are outstanding!!

  77. Carolyn Jung says:

    Winter squash? Already? Well, actually, winter will be here before I know it. I can already feel summer coming to a close. Drat.

  78. MaryMoh says:

    Joanne, your shopping trip always seems very exciting 😀 I wonder what’s next…haha. Love our dish. I have never added raisins into my cooking. Bet it gives an added natural sweetness. Would love to try next time. Your dish looks very delicious. Thanks very much for sharing. I’m sure you have great fun in your course 😀

  79. grace says:

    can i just say how much i enjoy the simple fact that cinnamon is first in the name? how very appropriate. 🙂

  80. sophia says:

    Love that you share my love for winter squashes. I shouldn’t ever go shopping with you though, because we would totally cat-fight over the best kabocha. 😉

  81. Velva says:

    This dish is proof that Fall will soon be here. This is a beautiful warm and hearty dish. I would go nuts at the Union Square farmer’s market.

    Good luck on your test.

  82. Marisa says:

    We must’ve been seperated at birth. Because I love cinnamon-y raisin-studded spicy meals too. This looks fantastic!

  83. Chris says:

    It’s just past Labor day, don’t be bringing anything “winter” around just yet. Shooo winter, go away.

    Japan, huh? I can do that one on the grill easily. I need to enter this, I’ve been a bad bad blogger with your regional meme. Miso sorry.

  84. I could not be any more thrilled that winter squash & seasonings are coming onto the scene. Your pork sounds amazing…love the raisins in this recipe! xo

  85. janet says:

    No no no! I still want it to be summer!!
    This looks great, though, and doesn’t use tha dreaded “curry powder”. 🙂 I am still trying to figure out which spice in the powder is the yucky spice. 😉

  86. Kim says:

    I know you were excited to see that display of winter squash:)
    I love the looks of this spicy pork Joanne. All those warm spices, somewhat exotic, and definitely sexy and fun!

    Running over to check out the Regional Recipes roundup. I’m way behind!

  87. Joanne – this dish sounds wonderful, and I love your idea of adding the squash and raisins. This is definitely a Bittman recipe I need to try and I would for sure be adding your twist on things.

  88. Mmm this looks like such an awesome comfort food type of meal. I love winter squash!

  89. Debbie says:

    Sexy–COMFORT Food! Looks great.

  90. Kerstin says:

    Whenever I think of squash I think of you! Glad to see their return!

  91. Graziana says:

    I understand how you feel, every year I don’t want that the summer ends… but I also can’t wait to taste all the autums vegs and fruits.
    Thank you for joining to WHB!

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