By Melissa Knox-Raab
‘Tis the season for gourds and pumpkins and squash. Butternut hull squash are everywhere. These things:
The good news is they’re delicious. The bad news is you have to cut off the stem and the end, peel them, slice them into halves or quarters, remove the seeds in the bulgy part, and then slice them into smallish pieces. From then on, things get easier: just toss in a bowl with pressed garlic (lots!), cumin, turmeric, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. Spread out in a large pan so that each piece has its own little space in which to bask in the heat. Set aside.
Next, take three (or more) chicken thighs you’ve salted and peppered and left in the fridge overnight. The leaving them in the fridge part is not absolutely essential but results in crispier skin when the chicken is baked. Figure out which veggie might go bad if you don’t use it soon. I had some perfect cauliflower that would have been marginally less perfect the next day. Rinsed it, cut it, tossed it in olive oil and lemon juice; added a few sliced red onions. But I can see the recipe with bell peppers instead. Or zucchini.
In a largish pan, place the cauliflower mix with the chicken on top. Put the pan of chicken on the top shelf of your oven, which you’ve meanwhile pre-heated to about 200º Celsius (about 390ºF). Place the pan of sliced butternut squash on the lower shelf. Both dishes need about an hour; you can baste the chicken in its own juice and flip the thighs over towards the end. Stir the squash, too. The squash may be done a bit sooner; you can switch the chicken to the lower shelf if it looks very done.
The dishes will look like this before you put them in:
I was too hungry to take a picture when they came out. Served all over Jasmine rice made, naturally, in the rice cooker. And my son said it was “so delicious, Mom!