Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Version of Afghani Kaddo (Butternut Squash with Meat and Yogurt Sauce)

One of our favorite restaurants in Cambridge is Helmand particularly for their roasted pumpkin dish, kaddo.  I've been looking for a recipe to replicate that delicate balance of sweet pumpkin, savory meat and tomato sauce, and tangy yogurt sauce for years. I tried a recipe found online last year, but it came out way too sweet.  Knowing me, I probably didn't halve all the ingredients correctly since I doubt I had two sugar pumpkins, but it was also a pain to roast the pumpkin for 3 hours and baste it.  Have you ever basted roasted vegetables???  Anyway, even if I fixed the sugar issue, I wasn't up for that time commitment again.

Apparently there's a shortage of sugar pumpkins in New England this year because of Hurricane Irene, and our farmer warned us not to keep our squashes around too long because of this year's growing conditions.  With multiple butternut squashes sitting around my kitchen from our vegetable share, I decided to give a different kaddo recipe a try with butternut squash.

I'm happy to report that this recipe came out fabulously, and it was a lot easier and faster than the last recipe I tried.  Peeling went super fast with  my new carbon steel C-peeler, so now I don't look like I'm about to chop off my fingers when trying to break down winter squashes.  I didn't bother adding garlic or salt/pepper to the yogurt but instead just added it plain to the rest of the dish.

My Version of Afghani Kaddo (Roasted Butternut Squash with Meat and Yogurt Sauce)
adapted from Chowhound

One 2 to 2.5 pound sugar pumpkin or winter squash (such as butternut or acorn), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 pound ground meat (I've made with beef or pork, but I think even ground chicken would work)
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large oven-proof skillet or dutch oven that will fit all the pumpkin/squash. Brown the pumpkin/squash pieces, turning frequently, until golden brown (about 5 minutes.)
  3. Mix sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over pumpkin/squash. Cover with foil or pan cover. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.
  4. While pumpkin/squash baking, make meat sauce: In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and cook the onions until lightly browned. Add ground meat, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix well and cook until meat is browned. Add tomato sauce and water, mix thoroughly and bring to a simmer, lower heat, and cook about 20 minutes until it cooks down to a thick sauce.
  5. To serve: plate portion of the cooked pumpkin/squash, top with meat sauce and dollop of yogurt. 
Yields: 4 servings
Total Time: 45 minutes, all active