Feb 162016
 

I like eating seasonally. And every season change serves up something special. Spring artichokes pave the way for Summer tomatoes, field peas and cornbread to punctuate hot summer days. Fall greens lead the way toward winter squashes, roasted to perfection to create wonderfully complex flavors in dishes like this curry with squash.

One of our favorite winter squashes is the kabocha, an Asian variety revered in some cultures as an aphrodisiac. While I can add nothing to this claim I do welcome anything and everything capable of introducing a little more love into the scheme of things.

kabocha hand

If you don’t have access to kabocha squash, try butternut or acorn squash, both will substitute just fine, although the roasting time in the oven should be adjusted to accommodate the squash you’re using.

We generally buy several pounds of kabocha when they become available at our local farmers market and have a squash-roasting day. SRD as we like to call it usually happens on a Saturday. We cut, seed and oven roast squash all afternoon. It can feel like a never-ending ordeal if you’re pressed for time.

kabocha tight

I suggest you look at SRD the way we do and turn it into a bit of a party. On squash-roasting-day the cork gets jerked out of a nice bottle of red wine way before it’s five o’clock anywhere. By late afternoon the squash is finished roasting, some set aside for immediate use and the rest frozen for later.

At this point we generally disintegrate into another bottle of red, which of course prefers the company of good cheese, fresh fruit and French bread which gets torn, pulled and fragmented into oblivion.

Roasting a kabocha squash is easy but as you have now guessed it takes a while in the oven. However, armed with that knowledge you can enjoy an almost perfect screw-off day and get a freezer full of roasted squash out of the deal.

First, cut and seed the squash as you would any pumpkin. Slice the squash into wedges making sure to cut the pieces around the same size so they cook evenly. You do not need to peal the squash, just toss the cut pieces into a bowl and coat with olive oil. Lay the oiled squash out onto a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for 30 – 60 minutes at 425 degrees or until the squash is browned and has a soft yet slightly firm texture.  Note: sometimes in the early Fall, you’ll get a “green” squash that may require a little more cooking time.

Once your squash has cooled you can cut off the remaining peel easily, chop it in bite-size pieces or keep as wedges depending on your planned use. Then pop the squash into freezer bags and store in the freezer for future use.

Red Thai Curry is one of our favorite curry recipes and rather than buying the pre-made packaged, salt-laden curry pastes you see in stores we mix our own using a seasoning blend from our favorite spice shop – Savory Spice. Their red Thai curry spice includes a blend of lemongrass, galangal, cumin, coriander, garlic, lime leaves and more. And most importantly, it’s not full of salt. We want to taste the spices, not salt.   If there isn’t a shop near you, don’t worry, you can buy it their website: http://www.savoryspiceshop.com.

To make the curry paste just mix equal portions of spice mix and water or oil together and voilà curry paste! No worries, we show you how to do this in the video. Now, let’s get started.

Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash
Prep Time: About 2-hours
Cooking Time: About 45:00 minutes

Tools You’ll Need:
A Cleaver or a Large Knife
A Dutch oven
Large Mixing Spoon

Ingredient List:
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups of roasted kabocha squash, cut into bite-size pieces
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
.5-cup water
1-tablespoon soy sauce

Instructions:

First, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven; add the onions and sauté gently until soft.

onions

Add the sliced red and green peppers, garlic and ginger and sauté for a couple of minutes more.

add peppers

Mix together your curry paste and when well blended add it to your sauté mixture for two more minutes letting the heat bring out the flavors of the spice blend.

mixing curry paste

add curry paste

Use your nose, you want the most from your spices without burning your spices, so when fully fragrant, pour in the coconut and water mixture stirring to combine.

coconut milk

Add the soy sauce and bring the pot to a simmer, add the diced potatoes and the roasted kabocha squash, bring to an easy simmer and cook for 30-minutes.

potato

add squash

Add the juice of a lime, combine and serve over hearty organic brown rice.

add lime

Enjoy!

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