As you decide on what to include in your fabulous array of vegetable side dishes for the upcoming holiday feasts, keep one thing in mind. No guts, no glory. For some reason, normally adventurous cooks when faced with a house full of hungry relatives, play scared.
It's probably driven by the desire to want everyone to enjoy everything (you know that's impossible, right?). Serving something too exotic just doesn't seem prudent. I take a different approach. Since these holiday meals are one of the rare times we get to serve multiple side dishes, I think it's the perfect occasion for springing a surprise or two.
This lovely red curry butternut squash certainly fits the bill. Sweet, spicy, and mysterious – this turkey-friendly side dish won't be everyone's cup of tea, but for those at the table that let it work its magic, it promises to be one of their favorite parts of the meal.
Like I said, there are plenty of other side dishes on hand, so even if the worse case scenario happens and everyone from little Billy to Grandma Jean agrees this is the worst squash dish ever, so what? There are seven more sides to pick up the slack. Besides, after the third bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau who's really going to care?
If you've never worked with red curry before, be careful. It's really spicy, and you can always add more as it cooks. To be safe, you can even cut my measurements in half for the spices and then adjust. I hope you give this interesting butternut squash side dish a try. Enjoy!
3-4 pounds butternut squash, peeled cut in 1-inch cubes
1 bunch green onions
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp red curry powder (I used McCormick)
1 tsp red curry paste (I used Taste of Thai)
2 tbsps tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
1 rounded tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce (or sub to-taste with soy sauce or salt)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
*adjust for salt and heat before serving