CRAISIN AND HAM BUTTERNUT SQUASH


CRAISIN AND HAM BUTTERNUT SQUASH

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 0hr 40mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Craisin and Butternut Squash

After I finished testing this recipe, I made it again and again over the next three days. It was absolutely addictive. The glaze from the butter and brown sugar creates a subtle sweetness, while the craisins and ham add a beautiful contrast of tart and savory.

There are simply not enough meals in a day.

WHAT YOU NEED WHAT TO DO WHY
Position an oven rack just below center; preheat convection ovens to 400°F (verify with an oven thermometer). Ovens often run hot or cold, or preheat slowly.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Ghee Evenly coat the bottom of a half sheet pan. Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter.
1 (2 1/2 pound) butternut squash, cubed to 1-inch (about 1 1/2 pounds prepared) Spread evenly in a single layer on the sheet pan.

Tip: Cut off both ends. Cut squash in half just above the bulbous end, rocking the knife to make the cut easily. Peel each piece with a potato peeler. Place cut sides down; cut each piece in half from top to bottom. Cleanly scoop out fiber, ragged flesh and seeds with a spoon. Cut flesh into 1-inch slices. Cut into 1-inch cubes, trimming away irregularities.

If squash is crowded, it steams versus roasting.
It is roasting that intensifies the flavor.
6 cloves (1 1/2 ounces) garlic, quartered
1/2 cup craisins
4 ounces ham, diced
Sprinkle garlic, craisins, and ham over squash. Keep garlic away from the pan edges to avoid burning.

Tip: After separating garlic cloves from the head; cut off root ends. Place the broad side of a chef’s knife over top; strike with your fist or palm. Release peel and discard. Quarter.

Large pieces of garlic are less likely to burn during roasting, but are still susceptible at the edges.
3 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
Sprinkle evenly over everything on the sheet pan. It seems like a lot of salt, but without it, the flavor is a little flat. Bake until squash is glistening and fork tender (18-20 minutes). For ovens lacking a steam release vent, briefly crack the door 2-3 times in the final half of roasting to release the steam.

Toss before serving to redistribute moisture. Serve hot.

Brown sugar adheres to squash better than maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar… but any of them can be used as a substitute.

Testing notes: Acorn squash has inferior color and texture, pumpkins have inferior taste and texture; sweet potatoes are not quite as sweet or nutty.

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