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.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|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.|
||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.|
||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.|
||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.|
||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.