Is it too much of a cliche to jump from bread pudding and cinnamon knots to a veggie-heavy curry in the early days of January? I crave stewy, spicy things after so many weeks (OK, months) of butter cookies and Toblerone. And I inevitably get all excited about the piles of gnarly squash over the winter and buy more than I get around to actually using. Sometimes it’s because I go for the bumpiest beasts, the ones you have to tackle with a cleaver to access the insides of. Sure, you can go for smooth-skinned butternut with thick necks, or even buy a bag of squash cubes – in fact, they work extra well here, cooking down quickly into a curry. But if you have a bit of a monster on your hands, one that refuses to be peeled, simply hack it into pieces and roast them in the oven until the flesh is tender enough to scoop or peel away from the skin and throw into the pot. Yes, a microwave works just fine for this too.
I love the combination of chickpeas and squash, and chickpeas and curry, and squash and curry. Usually with curries I’ll toss in some sort of tomato product – it might be a whole tomato I previously tossed into my freezer, or the end of a jar of crushed tomatoes in my fridge, or a squeeze of tomato paste (I love the tubes). It’s a pretty fast meal to pull together, relatively speaking – but if you have some extra time to make it a day in advance, it will improve with age.
Happy New Year, everyone!