Even though the olive oil poached salmon was a winner, I may have loved this side dish just as much. It was sweet, acidic, salty, citrusy, slightly spicy – you name it, the flavor was there. And despite all of the crazy stuff going on with this dish, it still felt really light and fresh. Do note that it takes a LOT of butternut squash to make 4 cups diced – and there is a good amount of prep time associated with peeling and chopping those bad boys. Plan accordingly, with your wallet AND with the clock!
Coat a large straight-sided saute pan with olive oil. Add in the red onions, crushed red pepper, and season with salt. Bring the pan to a medium heat and cook the onions until they are soft and aromatic, 7 to 8 minutes.
Add in the squash, dried cranberries, sugar, champagne vinegar, orange zest, mustard seeds, mustard powder, and season with salt. Stir to combine. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 15 minutes, stirring the squash frequently until the liquid has evaporated and the squash is a chutney-like consistency. Check to make sure the squash is cooked through and soft but can still hold its shape. Stir in chives.