The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Calling All Butternut Squash

September 23rd, 2015 · No Comments · Posted in Blog, Recipes


We made dinner for friends last night and almost everything on the menu was grown right here on Spy Dog Farm.

We started with a gumbo made with okra out of our raised garden beds and Freedom Ranger chicken. For the entree, I grilled a butterflied leg of lamb from a recently slaughtered ram-ling. I was a bit concerned about the lamb, because I had seasoned it with a Mexican-tilted rub on Saturday expecting to serve it for a lunch on Sunday that got cancelled at the last minute. So it sat in the fridge for four days with the seasoning and I feared it might turn into lamb bacon. Needless worrying–it was great.

With the lamb we again served my wife’s roasted tomatillo salsa, as well as sauteed kale with caramelized shallots and a butternut squash “salad” with the flavors or orange, ginger, local maple syrup.

My wife planted a few squash and these yielded a truckload. How to use them all? Hence the “salad,” which originally called for sweet potatoes and is one of our favorites. I adapted it for our butternut squash, improvising a little with the oven to get them browned and cooked without being mushy. That’s the trick.

Peel two ripe squash, slice them in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into 1-inch dice and toss in a large bowl with olive oil to coat. Season to taste with salt, cinnamon and ground nutmeg.

Spread the seasoned squash onto two unlined sheet pans and roast on the lower rack in a 450-degree oven. Use a spatula to turn the squash once or twice. The idea is to brown the squash but cook it only until just done and still firm. Don’t worry if a few bits stick to the sheet pan.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then toss the squash with 1 bunch scallions chopped small; 2/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped; a handful black raisins and a handful golden raisins.

For the dressing, mix together 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar (or balsamic), 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled ginger, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil to make a vinaigrette.

Gently fold the vinaigrette into the squash mix and allow to sit for at least an hour for the flavors to meld. Even better, make it several hours ahead and serve at room temperature.

Bon appetit!

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