Butternut squashes are at their best in autumn, when their warm colour and rich flavour bring a welcome touch of comfort to offset the shortening days and the nip in the air. This spicy cross between a stir-fry and a braise uses butternut squash and chicken wings, and is a warming meal on a chilly day. It’s also quick to cook, ready in about 20 minutes after you’ve chopped up the ingredients.
Chicken wings are ideally suited to this recipe, because they are just the right size and thickness to cook in about the same time as the diced butternut squash or pumpkin. Larger joints, like chicken drumsticks, don’t work because they take too long to cook through. You could also use thickly sliced chicken breast or diced pork instead of the chicken wings.
Pumpkin works just as well as butternut squash, so if you’re planning to make a pumpkin lantern for Halloween and are wondering what to do with the pumpkin flesh, here’s a good use for it.
Stir-fried chicken wings with butternut squash
3 or 4 chicken wings, depending on size
Approx 12 oz (approx 350 g) butternut squash or pumpkin
Half a red or yellow pepper
Half a small onion or 1 small leek
Root ginger, approx 1” (approx 2 cm) cube
1 clove garlic
3 Tablespoons (3 x 15 ml spoon) light soy sauce
2 Tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoon) cooking sherry
Halve the chicken wings at the ‘elbow’ joint. This is quite easy to do with a sharp and fairly strong cook’s knife. I find it easier to cut just to the lower side of the joint, where the wing has two small bones (the upper part of the wing has a single thick bone).
Peel the butternut squash or pumpkin and remove the seeds. Cut into chunks about half an inch (about 1.5 cm) cubed.
Wash the pepper, remove the seeds and cut into pieces about half an inch (about 1.5 cm) square.
Peel and chop the onion (or wash, trim and slice the leek). Peel and shred the ginger. Peel the garlic.
Heat about 1 Tablespoon (about 15 ml) cooking oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the chicken wings in a single layer and brown on all sides.
Add the diced butternut squash or pumpkin, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until starting to colour.
Add the chopped pepper, onion or leek, ginger and crushed garlic, and stir-fry about 30 seconds.
Stir in the soy sauce and sherry. Put a lid on the wok or frying pan, turn the heat down, and cook gently over a low heat for about 12-15 minutes. Turn the chicken wings once or twice during cooking. It’s ready when the juices run clear when a knife is inserted into the thickest part of the chicken wings, by which time the squash or pumpkin should be soft.
Serve immediately with noodles or rice.