The bad news for me: Today is day six (6!!!) of forced rest days, thanks to the congestion in my head and the razorblades in my throat. Also, it’s Part II of “Mel makes the rounds of all her doctors to make sure everything is working properly now that she’s over 40 and only has half a thyroid”… which means full exam and blood work at my GP and later, for fun, a mammogram.
The good news for you: You get a rest day recipe, and it’s a yummy one for Thanksgiving week.
I’ve tested and discarded several winter squash recipes this season: a pumpkin soup that was too bland and watery, an acorn squash I couldn’t adapt to remove the offending brown sugar and honey… but the recipe below is a mash-up of the technique from one recipe and the spice blend from another. It’s creamy, spicy, rich, and can stand proud on a table as a replacement for overly-sugared sweet potatoes or winter squash.
The special ingredient that makes this recipe sing is Ras el Hanout, a spice blend from Morocco. Spice market vendors all claim their version to be the best, so express your creativity and feel free to play around with the proportions of the spices in my recipe if you favor one spice more than another.
Velvety Butternut Squash
Serves 4 | Prep 5 minutes | Roast 50 minutes | Bake 30 minutes | Whole30 compliant
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash
2 tablespoons water
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
1 large egg
1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped (reserve a few unchopped for garnish)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place cut-side down on the baking sheet and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water onto the paper around the squash.
2. Peel the loose, papery skin off the garlic, and wrap it in a piece of aluminum foil. Put the baking sheet of squash and the foil packet of garlic in the oven. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until the squash is tender. Set both aside until they’re cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.
3. Increase the oven temperature to 400 F.
4. When the squash is cool, use a spoon to scoop the flesh into the bowl of a food processor. Separate the garlic cloves and squeeze the roasted pulp into the bowl with the squash. Process the mixture to a smooth puree, then add the coconut oil, coconut milk, salt, and Ras el Hanout. Taste and adjust seasonings.
5. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Scrape the purée into a large mixing bowl and stir in the beaten egg with a wooden spoon until combined.
6. Grease the inside of a 3-cup casserole dish or individual ramekins with a little coconut oil, then add the squash purée. Top with chopped pecans and bake in the 400 F oven for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are a little bubbly and the top is golden brown.
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