Holiday recipe: Turban squash with spiced apple compote
Every spoonful of this dramatic side dish is a perfect pairing of harvest-fresh squash and spicy fruit filling. To save time on Thanksgiving Day, prepare the filling one day ahead and reheat it just before serving. Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1 LARGE TURBAN SQUASH (about 4 pounds)
2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
2 LARGE CRISP APPLES, such as Gala, Fuji or Honeycrisp
½ CUP DRIED CRANBERRIES
1/3 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS
1/3 CUP SUNDRIED RAISINS
1/3 CUP DRIED APRICOTS, sliced in half
2 TEASPOONS CORNSTARCH
¾ CUP APPLE CIDER OR APPLE JUICE
1 TABLESPOON BROWN SUGAR
1 ¼ TEASPOONS CINNAMON
½ TEASPOON FRESHLY GRATED NUTMEG
1. REMOVE THE TOPKNOT from the squash by carefully cutting with a sharp knife where the topknot and lower portion join. Scoop out the seeds from the upper and lower portions with a spoon and save them for roasting, if desired. Discard pulp.
2. TO MAKE THE FILLING, core and dice the apples, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, and add the apples to the pan. Raise the heat to medium and sauté 5 minutes until the apples begin to soften. Stir in cranberries, raisins and apricot halves. In a small bowl, whisk cider into cornstarch to form a smooth slurry, and stir it into the apple mixture along with brown sugar and spices. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the sauce is thickened. Keep the filling hot, or cool, transfer it to a bowl, cover and chill overnight.
3. PLACE THE TOP AND LOWER portions of squash face down in a large pot containing ¾ -inch of water. Cover tightly, bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and steam 15 to 20 minutes, or until the inside of the squash is soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove it from the heat, place the squash face up on a serving platter, remove any moisture with paper towels, and spoon in the hot filling. Place the topknot on top of the filling at a jaunty angle, and serve.
Christy Rost, Public Television chef, executive producer, author.
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