While I might bemoan the slow fading away of summer—and oh, I do bemoan it, loudly—there’s no denying the deliciousness of winter squash, in full display at every market and grocery store right about now. The acorn varieties are my personal favorite, particularly the jester (stripe-y like a delicata but shaped like an acorn) which is almost cake-like in its dense, moist sweetness. There isn’t any meal that isn’t elevated by a side of roasted squash—for proof, recall my friend Amanda Paa’s clever Smitten with Squash cookbook.
I roast a few squashes at a time then stash the extra in the fridge for adding to soups—per this recipe—as well as hashes, stir-fries, and even breakfast porridge. Heck, I’ll even eat squash for a quick dessert—top with coconut milk, a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkle of cinnamon, et voila, a healthy cheater’s pumpkin pie in mere seconds. Yum.
I chose halibut for this silky stew because its mild flavor and firm texture contrast beautifully with creamy coconut milk and sweet squash. Even with a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro to finish, this stew is rich—serve in small portions as is, or spoon over rice or cauliflower rice. Feel free to simmer additional vegetables in the coconut milk and really fill it out—broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, and/or mushrooms would all be fantastic.
Halibut Coconut Milk Stew with Roasted Squash
1 c. winter squash (acorn, jester, butternut, delicata, etc.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch slices
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 c. water
3/4 lb. skinned halibut, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice (or more to taste)
Chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In small bowl, toss squash slices, coconut oil, and a generous pinch of salt until squash is coated with oil. Spread evenly on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Turn squash pieces over and roast until tender and browned in spots, another 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
While squash roasts, open can of coconut milk and spoon some of the fat from the top of the can into a large saucepan. Set pan over medium heat and when fat is melted and hot, add onion. Sauté onion until softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, turmeric, and ginger and sauté for 3 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, coconut aminos, maple syrup, and water and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
While soup simmers, cut squash into 1/2-inch dice.
Remove cover from stew and add halibut pieces. Simmer for 5 minutes or until halibut is just cooked through. Stir in lime juice. Correct seasoning with additional fish sauce (saltiness), coconut aminos (salty-sweetness), or lime juice (acid) to taste. Stir in squash. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.