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WINNER! {Side Dish}

Required major ingredient: South Carolina-grown vegetable or grain

Marion Mathes

“I’m not very good at following directions,” laughs Marion, an upbeat financial professional who rarely makes the same thing the same way twice. “I read cookbooks, then I close them and do my own thing.” Marion’s Curried Butternut Squash Purée recipe went through at least four rounds before she settled on a final version, and the practice paid off. All of the judges were excited to taste a savory and healthy butternut squash dish rather than the typical sugary incarnations. “With the ingredients she selected,” notes Charleston food editor Marion Sullivan, “this dish could have ended up being sweet, but she used a light hand with the applesauce and the coconut milk.”

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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 lbs. local butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Vidalia onion
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 tsp. roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 6 oz. applesauce
  • 2 Tbs. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 Tbs. Paul Prudhomme’s Vegetable Magic Seasoning Blend (available in grocery stores)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 4 oz. light coconut milk

Directions

Halve butternut squash and place in a microwavable dish with about a half cup of water. Microwave on high for six to eight minutes, or until tender (time will depend on microwave and size of squash). Peel squash and cut into large cubes. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, sauté onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until wilted, about four minutes. Add butter, ginger, and parsley and continue sautéing for another five minutes. Add squash, applesauce, and seasonings and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When everything is soft, use an immersion blender to purée mixture to desired consistency. Add coconut milk until squash reaches desired creaminess and serve.

TIP: Try substituting finely diced fresh apples for the applesauce.


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