Curried Butternut Squash

A shortcut braise that turns sturdy vegetables into a saucy stew.
TIME 45 to 60 minutes
MAKES 4 servings
1½ pounds butternut squash
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
¼ cup chopped scallions for garnish
1 lime, quartered, for serving

1 Cut both ends off the squash and cut it into 2 sections: the cylindrical top and the bulbous bottom. Peel both sections, then cut the bottom in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut the flesh from both sections into 1-inch chunks (or cubes if you’re feeling fastidious). You should have about 5 cups.

2 Put the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and turn golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir until it becomes fragrant, just 1 minute or so.

3 Stir in the squash, coconut milk, and some salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle bubble. Cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the squash is tender (you’ll be able to pierce it easily with a sharp, thinbladed knife), 15 to 20 minutes.

4 Remove the lid and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally and stirring the squash just a few times, until the liquid thickens a bit, no more than 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the cilantro and scallions, and serve with the lime wedges.

  • Of all the winter squashes, the skin of butternut is the thinnest, and in some cases you might be able to get it off with a vegetable peeler, especially if yours is razor-sharp. But be prepared to use a knife, as you’ll certainly need to with most winter squashes. Either way, take off the pale, green-striped layer just inside the peel, but try not to remove too much of the edible orange flesh.
  • Other vegetables you can use here: sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, celery root, or any other winter squash, including acorn, kabocha, and pumpkin (but not spaghetti squash, which will fall apart). Or try a combination.
  • If you don’t want a creamy curry, substitute vegetable stock (or even water) for the coconut milk. To take the dish over the top in richness, use cream or half-andhalf.

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