Dinner Tonight: Squash, Shiitake, and Kale Kimchi Stew

Dinner Tonight

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I don't know about you, but kimchi stew (jjigae) reminds me of winter. And not just any old chilly evening, but the kind of day smack dab in the dead of February, when there's a foot of snow on the ground and frost on the windows. That's when a big bowl of spicy broth and meaty pork sounds like heaven, right? So what am I doing cooking up a batch in the middle of summer? Turns out vegetables are equally at home in this dish, and right now I have a lot of them. Plus, haven't you heard that adage that you should eat a hot soup on a hot day?

Honestly, my biggest issue was trying to figure out just how many different kinds of vegetables I could add. Eventually, I settled on thinly sliced squash, meaty shiitakes, and a bunch of kale. They joined the usual suspects of kimchi and soft tofu for a soup that's every bit as warming and comforting as you'd expect, but also with a fresh edge that feels right on hot day.