Snow Day and the Winter Squash

Snow Day and the Winter Squash

I remember when I was a kid… And on the news, those venerable, gray-haired weather men would swear that we would awake to a White Christmas. It never happened. Christmas in Georgia is almost always – a rainy 47 degrees…. you can count on it.

I’ve always considered it a very cruel joke that children in the South get sleds and toboggans for Christmas.

Here’s something for you that you can never ever use.. just look at it.. and be happy you got presents this year….

We even got those aluminum disc sled things one year. We used them once and it really wasn’t even snow… it was just that slushy glop covering the ground just enough to turn the underlying red clay into slick putty. It was probably just as well – the back yard was a 60 degree slope terminating at a perpetually icy, fresh-water spring…. We would have died of hypothermia.

They mostly just hung in the garage. It became one of those things that never got used. I remember my brother Ed trying to convert one into a parabolic mirror…. lord only knows what he was going to do with it if he ever got it to work.. I could picture him frying squirrels out of the trees like ants under a magnifying glass.

So… imagine my surprise when announced last night that the snow would begin at 9 am on Christmas Morning…and at 9:15 am the snow begin to fall…

…it’s still falling.

Ed and his family are hosting Christmas Dinner at his house this year….  and we (Mom & I) are supposed to bring a vegetable. We had found a Buttercup Squash at the market earlier in the month and had decided to do a savory squash dish for the dinner. Ed and Cindy are serving Standing Rib Roast (the Alton Brown technique) – so it would be a great complimentary side dish
….it’s still snowing… so we aren’t going to make the trip…….  I’m missing the roast… oh, right… and the, umm,  family thing, too….

We are, however, still cooking the squash.

Buttercup Squash are a smooth textured, slightly sweet, orange fleshed, marrow squash. It is more similar to a butternut than an acorn, and about the size of a squished-down soccer ball.

Mom’s idea was to curry it, so I set about looking for a recipe that would handle the texture and flavor without over-powering it. Curries can be assaulting if not handled properly.
The recipe is an amalgamation of about five different recipes.. most I found were just too intense, so I’ve adjusted ratios and made substitutions to suit our taste.
The end product is rich, creamy, slightly spicy and just enough kick to stand up to a fairly robust meal.

While the finished dish is very good, and as a vegetarian dish – it’s perfect. Although, I’m a Meatasaurus and I think it can still use some tweaking, so I am going to give you some adaptations:

1.) I think it could benefit from a little more fat and smokiness, so –
Add 1 pound of bacon (diced) to the onions and cook til browned

2.) The curry and the richness of the squash can stand up to stronger meats, so –
Add 1 Pound of diced Pork or Lamb (or Goat) when you add the squash, and roast

and finally,
3.) I’ve tasted some really good curried squash soups, so –
Puree the squash after baking and add 1 cup heavy cream and 4 cups chicken stock, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Curried Buttercup Squash
Serves 8 to10

1 Buttercup Squash – Peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
1 Yellow Onion – Diced
2 Teaspoons Grated Ginger
2 Cloves Garlic – Crushed
1 Tablespoon Green Curry Paste (if you are serving it to a mixed crowd, you would probably want to drop the curry down to 1 Teaspoon to start and adjust up from there)
1 Can Petit Diced Tomatoes – with juice
1 Can Coconut Milk  – Shaken
1/4 Cup Parsley – Chopped
8 Cardamon Pods
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Marsala
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Corriander
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cutting Board
A Couple of Sharp Knives
Scooping Spoon
Dutch Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Peel and Dice the squash. The best way is to halve the squash, scoop out the innards, then cut off workable 1/2 rounds off the body – it will make peeling it easier in the long run.
  • Crush the cardamon pods with the side of a knife until they crack.
  • On medium high heat, place the dutch oven and oil
  • When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions begin to brown
  • Add the crushed cardamon, corriander, garam marsala and heat until aromatic
  • Add the tomatoes, parsley and coconut milk and heat until bubbling
  • Add the Curry Paste, Soy and Brown Sugar and stir to combine
  • Add the salt and pepper
  • Add the squash, and turn to evenly coat
  • Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350

Buttercup Squash on FoodistaButtercup Squash

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