We have squash in spades throughout the winter months, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare it. I never thought about serving it with sweet apples and sweet-tart cranberries, but after trying a version prepared by the chefs at Yale during a dinner celebrating Indian food, I was hooked on the balance between creamy and chewy, sweet and spicy. It is a beautiful holiday side dish that I now prepare throughout the season. Most supermarkets sell squash already chopped into pieces. This is a great time-saver since all of the peeling, seeding, and chopping is already done for you.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon at room temperature
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and diced into 1-inch cubes
3 sweet-tart apples that will keep their shape after baking, peeled, cored, and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping cup plain flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-11-inch baking dish with the 1 tablespoon room-temperature butter and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss together the squash, apples, cranberries, parsley, thyme, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir to combine, then add the flour and mix to evenly coat the squash mixture.
3. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake until the top is golden brown and the squash is tender but not mushy (a paring knife should easily slip into the center of a piece of squash), 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe courtesy of Suvir Saran with Raquel Pelzel; photographs by Ben Fink, Chronicle Books, 2011.