No, not that bootie. This bobotie is the national dish of South Africa. It was developed by Indonesian slaves that were brought into Africa by Dutch traders. Traditionally, it is made with ground lamb and/or beef but one day when I was obsessing over butternut squash, I realized that this recipe would work with squash and so a vegetarian bobotie was born. I am also including the meat version so you omnivores can choose which you would like or make both! I should warn you though, this recipe will make the house smell so delicious that you may find the neighbors at the door with forks in hand! Rent "Out of Africa" and picture yourself in Meryl Streep's house at the first dinner with Robert Redford and his friend.
4 small butternut squash
1 1/2 onions
2 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs curry powder
2 1/4 cup milk
zest of one lemon
1 apple such as a Granny Smith
1/4 cup raisins either regular or golden
1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds
6 bay leaves
Slice the squash in half and place on a cookie sheet and cook at 350 - 375 until fork tender, about 35-50 minutes. I always cook it with the seeds left in, but you can take them out first if you like. Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds and fiberous strings like you are scooping out a pumpkin for carving. Then take a knife and peel away the peel. Chop the apple, and onion and place in a skillet with a little butter. Add the bay leaves, raisins, almonds, and garlic and saute until tender. I put the bay leaves in here so that the flavor can infuse the filling. Once the mixture is tender, remove the bay leaves and add 1/4 cup of the milk, the curry and the lemon zest. Add the squash, one egg and smush it all together really well. (Try not to be intimidated by my fancy, gourmet chef technical terms......)
Place in a casserole dish, either round or rectangular, that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Take the remaining 2 cups of milk and 4 eggs and beat them together really well then pour over the mixture. This will form a custard layer on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the custard layer is set. Serve as either a side dish or an entree. Savor the aroma and the flavor!
For the meaty version, use two pounds of either ground lamb, ground beef or a combination of the two instead of the squash. Saute as above and add 2 slices of bread that is torn into small pieces. Layer in the casserole and put the milk-egg mix on top. Cook covered at 325 for 1 1/4 hour and then remove the covering and finish at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Yummy!