Recipe: Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Nut Topping

I always look forward to that time of year when butternut squash comes into season.  It’s a malleable and flavorful vegetable.  It has a nice carrot-y sweet flavor and goes well with sweet, savory and spicy flavors.

This recipe is a really nice, easy puree.  It’s really easy to make this vegan.  It’s also easy to make this spicier by adding some garam masala (try about 1 tsp total, I put most in the topping and just a little in the puree).

Equipment:

Rimmed jelly-roll pan, lined with foil

Food processor

Large baking dish

Ingredients:

2 medium butternut squashes

2 Tbsp butter

¼ cup or less, chicken stock (if you are looking to make this vegan, orange juice is a great replacement)

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Topping:

3 Tbsp butter

½ cup brown sugar

1/3 cup pecans or almonds, roughly chopped

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

dash each of: ginger, cloves, white pepper, nutmeg

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F / 180˚C.  Pierce the squashes a few times with a knife.  Place on the foil lined pan and roast in the oven 1 – 1 ½ hours, until the knife is inserted and comes out easily.

2. Let the squashes cool, about an hour.

Breaking down the squash for the puree

3. Trim off the ends and cut in half.  Scoop out the seeds (you can save these and roast them later, they are like little pumpkin seeds, tasty).  Scoop the flesh into the food processor.

Making the puree, the liquid helps to make it smooth and blend more easily

4. Add 2 Tbsp of the chicken stock and pulse.  The chicken stock will help to smooth the puree and make it easier for the food processor to move the squash around.  Add the butter, cinnamon and maple syrup.  If needed, add a little more chicken stock.  The mixture should be smooth and creamy.

5. Place in the baking dish, season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients.  Mix together with your fingers or a small spoon until small crumbs form and the brown sugar is moist.

Making the topping

7. Sprinkle the topping over the squash and bake at 350˚F / 180˚C for 30 – 40 minutes.

This dish is really easy to do a day ahead of a party, just warm it up (step 7) when you are ready to eat!

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