This recipe is from the autumn section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast. It’s paired with a recipe for stuffed lettuce, kind of like cabbage rolls except with romaine lettuce leaves instead of cabbage. I haven’t tried the stuffed lettuce yet, but I’ve made this squash recipe many times. It’s very easy and always a hit. I usually make it with red kuri squash, which has a nice flavor and texture and a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled. When I make it with red kuri squash, I call it curried kuri.
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. unrefined brown sugar, such as Sucanat
- 1 Tbs. hot curry powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 pounds winter squash, peeled if necessary, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
- 200g seitan (optional, about 7 ounces)
- 1 cup apple cider
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. Select an ovenproof skillet or casserole pan large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. (I usually use a 12-inch stainless steel skillet.)
- Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, curry powder, and salt, and cook, stirring, until dissolved. Add the squash and seitan (if using) and toss to coat.
- Gradually pour the cider down the side of the pan without pouring it directly over the squash. (You don’t want to wash the protective butter layer off the top of the squash.) Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes, giving it a quick flip / stir midway through cooking time. The squash is done when the tip of a knife does not meet with any resistance when inserted into the squash.
My notes from the first time I made the recipe:
Berley says that he likes delicata, red kuri, buttercup, and hokkaido for this dish, since all have smooth, dense flesh and tender skins, which do not require peeling.
I used red kuri (called Hokaiidokürbis here in Germany). After removing the seeds I had 770g of edible squash. My curry powder isn’t hot so I used 2.75 tsp. of curry and 1/4 tsp. of cayenne. I couldn’t find apple cider so just used a nice cloudy (trüb in German) apple juice from the organic store. I was a tad short on butter—I used 37g instead of 3 Tbs. (42g).
This recipe worked well I thought. The squash cooked nicely and the sauce reduced to a thick glaze. The squash didn’t really taste curried though. More just sweet and buttery and savory. The peels on the red kuri were fine, but noticeable. They were slightly tougher than the rest of the squash.
Derek really liked the dish. He asked me to make it again when we had company later in the week. The second time I used a mix of red kuri, delicata, and a hubbard squash (which I peeled, painfully). I only had 3/4 cup of apple juice left so I added another 1/4 cup of water. The final dish was noticeably less sweet I thought. The hubbard squash turned out really starchy. Our guest said it reminded him of chestnuts. He seemed to like it the best but Derek and I both liked the red kuri much more than either the delicata or the hubbard, which was our least favorite.
I imagine you could easily make this recipe vegan by substituting olive oil or a butter-substitute for the butter. You could also probably cut down on the amount of butter if you want a less decadent glaze, but then you might want to cut back on the sugar as well.
Update Nov 2015: I edited the original recipe above to include seitan as an option. We make this dish often in the fall and winter (at least once or twice a month), and usually make it on a weekday night as a one-pot dinner. Adding the seitan makes it more substantial and feeling. Sometimes we leave out the seitan and eat the squash with a simple bowl of beans or lentil soup or dal with yogurt.