Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Chipotle Roasted Butternut Squash Puree


Today's weather reached a high of 57° and everyone was running around soaking up the sunshine and making up for a season of vitamin D deficiency. The return of the warmth and the sunshine has only increased my desire for spring vegetables, I have almost fallen for the lure of the California asparagus on sale at the co-op on several occasions. However I have stood firm and slunk home to the last of my winter CSA.

One of the CSA vegetables that I have the most trouble with is butternut squash. I can use it up without a problem by roasting it and then making soup, waffles and muffins. However I long for a savory vegetable use for it. Somehow adding it to baked goods does not feel like I am fully utilizing it. The other day I had a sudden inspiration of a sweet potato recipe we love where I could substitute the butternut squash. Lewis and I both loved the end result, if my boys ate spicy food they also would have loved it. Although I am thinking I can do a little better on their rendition next time with some smoked spanish paprika.

I made this happy discovery because I was craving Alton Brown's Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes and also feeling really poor and unable to buy any sweet potatoes. So I decided to make it with butternut squash. The smokiness and heat of the chipotles in adobo made the butternut squash richer and creamier while enhancing their sweetness. At first Sebastian liked the tame version I made for them by only adding the adobo sauce, but then he didn't eat anymore. After trying a bite of the mild one I realized I was not aggressive enough with the seasoning.

Chipotle Roasted Butternut Squash Puree 2 ways

1 butternut squash
approximately 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
smoked spanish paprika to taste (only is making a mild version)
1 1/2 whole chipotle pepper in adobo chopped fine (this comes in a small can and is available at most grocery stores. The unused portion can be transfered to a jar and stored in the fridge)

Turn the oven on to preheat to 350°, the oven does not have to be fully preheated before adding the squash. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings (I find a grapefruit spoon does a great job of scooping out the seeds). Brush the cut sides with extra virgin olive oil and place cut side down on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven until a fork can easily slide into the skin and flesh. It should be really tender. This will take approximately 40 minutes. When the squash is tender either scoop the flesh out of the skin or peel of the skin. Either place the flesh in a blender, bowl of a food processor or if you have an immersion blender in a bowl. Puree the squash until smooth. If you have extra time before eating it is nice to put the bowl back in the oven to thicken the puree for about 15 minutes, if you don't have time just proceed.

Add butter, adobo sauce and salt and mix well. If you have anyone who does not like spicy food remove a portion to another bowl and add smoked paprika to taste. Add chopped chile to main portion of squash puree and mix well.

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