Craisin Ham Butternut Squash

Craisin and Butternut Squash

After I finished testing this Craisin Ham Butternut Squash, 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.

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 0hr 40mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  Place an oven rack just below center; start preheating to 400°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer). Ovens often run hot or cold, or preheat slowly.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Ghee

Meanwhile, evenly butter the interior of a half sheet pan. Butter and Ghee have low PUFAs, and Ghee sports a high smoke point (485°F), and leave less residue on pans than oil.
  • 1 ½ pounds cubed butternut squash (about 2 ½ pounds before preparation)
Spread out in a single layer on the sheet pan, giving the squash plenty of shoulder space.

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 the squash crowds the pan, 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
Scatter garlic, cranberries, and ham amongst the squash. Keep garlic away from pan edges to avoid burning.

Tip: After separating garlic cloves from the head; cut off the roots. Place the broad side of a chef’s knife on top; strike with your fist or palm. Release skin 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
Scatter evenly over everything on the sheet pan. It seems like a lot of salt, but without it, the flavor will be a little flat. Bake until squash is glistening and fork tender (18-20 minutes). Toss before serving to redistribute moisture. Serve hot. Brown sugar adheres to squash better than maple syrup, honey, or agave nectar, but they substitute brown sugar, if necessary.

Additional Testing Notes: Acorn squash has inferior color and texture. Pumpkins have inferior taste and texture. Sweet potatoes are not quite as sweet or nutty.