butternut curry with green beans and mushrooms, and spring in the Bourbonnais countryside

This curry is largely inspired by a recipe published here by the New York Times newspaper. I have had to make some modifications to meet my husband’s dietary restrictions, adding green beans (our frozen haricots verts from last year’s crop) to the butternut and mushrooms called for by the original recipe and reducing the amount of shallots and garlic. I serve this very spicy dish with steamed rice and also add some roast chicken to my husband’s plate but this can totally stay vegetarian!

Ingredients (serves 2):

– 4 tsp coconut oil (3 + 1)

– 200 to 300g butternut squash (net weight; any leftovers can easily go in a soup)

– 200g frozen or fresh mushrooms, whichever kind you like; but please note that somehow they do not always agree with my husband and we are still not sure why

– 100 to 150g green beans, obviously the frozen kind this time of year; ours came from our garden

– 1 shallot – this ingredient being related to onions, I have to go easy on it: too much triggers a reaction for people with a sulfite sensitivity

– 1 garlic clove (same issue as shallots)

– spices: ¼ tsp cumin + ¼ tsp ground mustard seeds (whole seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder) + ¼ tsp turmeric + a dash Cayenne pepper (optional)

– ¼ tsp coarse sea salt, with no additives

– 75 to 100 ml coconut milk, as “clean” as possible (in France the only added ingredient that seems ok for both of us is guar gum)

Equipment:

This dish is best prepared in a large non-stick pot.

How to:

 

img_0743
This is just to give you a rough idea how much you need.

1. Prepare the squash: peel 200 to 300g butternut and cut into cubes. Peel both shallot and garlic clove.

2. Heat up 1 TBSP (=3 tsp) coconut oil and put squash cubes to brown for about 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Meanwhile, separately mince shallot and garlic.

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3. Remove butternut pieces from pot and set aside. Put last tsp coconut oil to melt, lower the heat and add minced shallot, ¼ tsp cumin and ¼ tsp ground mustard. Stir, then add minced garlic, ¼ tsp curry powder and a pinch of Cayenne pepper for a spicier dish.

 

img_0745
Shallot, garlic and spices; only add Cayenne pepper if you like it!

4. Now is the time to add 200g mushrooms, if using. Stir, and cook to reduce on low for about 5 minutes.

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Mushrooms always reduce in the cooking process.

5.  Add green beans (100 to 150g), and cook another 5 minutes, still on low.

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Adding frozen beans fogs up the lens!

6. Add browned butternut pieces back to the pot with 75 to 100 ml coconut milk and ¼ tsp coarse salt. Stir and cover. The dish is almost done: all you need is another 15 minutes of simmering on low heat.

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Nothing left to do but to stir, cover the pot and let it simmer.

This dish can be prepared ahead of time. You may need to add a little more coconut milk, a TBSP or so, if you find that the sauce has reduced too much.

The original recipe suggested serving this curry with lime juice, which I did (I keep a supply of frozen lime juice in my freezer). The acidity of the lime counterbalances the creaminess of the coconut milk. My husband, for his part, added shredded chicken meat, leftover from a roast chicken.

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Enjoy!

Spring has come very early this year in Bourbonnais*, my native land. It is actually a month early, dear neighbors! We have had what I feel is perfect weather, alternating between showers and sunshine. The local streams and rivers have risen to a nice level, and the bulbs I had planted in the fall are growing nicely. Some of them are already in full bloom!  Look at the photos I took in mid-February:

The same flowers, less than a week later:

Some of the  hedges along the neighboring country roads are also a pleasure to look at:

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I wish you a nice end of week and many flowers on your path, dear neighbors!

*Bourbonnais is the name of a region in central France, a three to four hour drive from Paris. This historical region derives its name from the Bourbon dynasty which gave France many famous Louis kings: Louis XIV who built Versailles (actually with the help of many skilled architects, artists and laborers!) , Louis XV who sold Louisiana to the United States (the poor man inherited a lot of debt from his great-grandfather and still needed more cash to fight the English!) and the unfortunate Louis XVI who may in my view have been the nicest Louis of the three — he was faithful to his wife, was not averse to reforming feudal France —  but who made some serious political mistakes which caused him to lose his head under the guillotine!

2 Comments

  1. How lovely to see some spring flowers and to hear about decent weather for a change. Our UK news is full of floods, storms and snow. We seem far from spring. However, I do have mini daffs coming out in the garden so all is not gloom and doom. Love the sounds of your recipe. The perfect dish to warm us all up on a chilly day. Have a good weekend. Kathryn 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kathryn 😊. I am sorry about the delayed reply: we have internet connection problems at the moment, which makes it hard to blog! But this is a very minor issue compared to what some people in Wales and England have had to endure. I hope the weather will improve fast for everybody!

      Liked by 1 person

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