Butternut squash ideas needed
Ok, so here's the thing. I've made a chicken tagine with olives and lemon for dinner. Will serve it with plain couscous, a couple of salads and I'd like to have some kind of butternut squash thing. I was planning to do it straight - roasted chunks with olive oil, garlic, etc. But then I was thinking it could be nice either spiced up a bit, sweetened up a bit or fruited up a bit. I don't want a puree - like a mashed squash dish. Any suggestions? Apples? Dried apricots?
I missed the previous posting or I would have added that Alton Brown has a nice recipe for making Gnocchi with butternut squash. I should say it's a nice idea, the recipe doesn't work for me. Even if the squash is baked and then mashed and hung in cheescloth, it is still too wet for his ratio of potatoes and flour to properly even things out. But, I still make this dish a lot, you just need to increase the flour and I no longer follow his recipe -- go by eye.
Make a 50% Squash/50% Potato mixture and add two aggs and mix. Then, add flour until the right consistency. Then make into Gnocchi and boil. Toss with butter and refridgerate (the butter will make it so that although they stick together, they will separate beautifully when reheated). Now, heat a pan and add butter and a couple of sage leaves. Brown the butter, add the Gnocchi. Serve, add some Parsely and some Pecorino.
This is a heavenly way to have squash. Just wonderful. It seems like a lot of work, but you can make a huge batch of gnocchi (just boil in small bunches removing them from the water when they're cooked with a spider) and they keep well in the fridge for almost a week.
I also like to make a soup out of Butternut squash. My stand by is ginger, garlic, onion, coconut milk. I add lots of Cumin, Garam Masala, and chayenne if it is going with Indian. I add a squirt of Sriracha and some fish sauce and finish with lime juice for Thai. For Morrocan, I leave out the cocnut milk, add Harissa, Cumin, Parsely, Lemon Juice and sometimes add some cream to replace the coconut milk -- but, you could leave it plain.
We have a standrad recipe. The contrast between the sweet squash and olives is nice. Proportions below don't matter much. It's just to your taste. Let me know how it goes!!
Chop squash into, say, 3/4 inch square pieces.
Saute olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
Throw in the chopped squash.
Saute until al dente. (long time as you probably know) Add more oil as you like.
Add pitted black olives, could be whole or halved. Make sure they're good olives with some flavor. Mix in olives and remove from heat.
I know that you said that you didn't want a puree, but my sister taught me a puree that is so freaking good and sounds like it would complement your tagine really well, so i am going to post it anyway:
Roast the butternut squash cut side down till soft with some garlic cloves stuffed in the hollows (just to flavor the squash with their roasted scent)
pull them out and scoop out the flesh into a pot and add some chicken stock, cream, fresh lemon juice and cumin to taste.
zap it all with an immmersion blender and voila, roasted butternut squash cumin soup.
this is a great soup and has become part of our thanksgiving meal.
on a similiar note, if you plan on roasting the squash in chunks, but want to spice it up, try tossing it in cumin, lemon and olive oil before roasting. there is something about the cumin and sweetness of the squash that work really well together.
The puree sounds delicious and I will definitely do something like that for Thanksgiving. But for some reason I have my mind set on chunks of squash to go with the rest of the menu. So I will take your last suggestion - the cumin, lemon and olive oil - for tonight.
And that other olive one sounds great too. Don't want to repeat the olives (the tagine is full of them) so I'll save it for another time. But what an intriguing combination - will definitely try.
You could try ras el hanout instead of cumin, although either one of those would probably work well with a Moroccan menu.
Another thing that I've tried with roasted squash is to let it cool and then add it to a salad. I've done another dressing for a different Moroccan salad with orange flower water and cinnamon--those might work with the squash.
Here is one of my favourites: a smoky squash soup that can pack as much (or as little) of a punch as you like.
I usually add more sage than the recipe calls for, and I omit the cream (I don't find the soup loses anything, but if you want a richer version, keep it in). If you like spicy food, purée the chipotle with the vegetables. If not, remove it prior to puréeing (soup won't be too spicy, but will have smoky underdones).
i like to do a butternut squash "risotto".
chicken stock, dry white wine, 2 squash, 2 shallots, 1 med. onion, 2 ribs celery, 2 med. carrots, butter, evoo, sage, good parmesan or truffle cheese like sottocenere (in which case omit sage)
get 1 qt. chicken stock + 2 cups dry white wine to low simmer.
peel 2 squash, cut into 1/2 inch dice.
in another pan, sweat shallots and mirepoix (fine dice)in butter.
add squash to the pan, sautee for 3-4 minutes.
lower heat in pan to medium. add stock/wine to pan 1 ladleful at a time, stirring to keep from sticking. when that stock has been absorbed enough to see the bottom of the pan when you scrape, add another ladleful. keep heat medium-lowish, should be simmering, not boiling hard. keep adding stock/wine until starches start to release and squash gets a creamy consistency, about 15-20 mins. right before serving, fold in sage and cheese, season with salt and pepper. mmmhmm.