Thursday, October 16, 2014

Butternut Squash with Butter, Nutmeg & Maple Syrup

Make the most of the fall harvest with this light, healthy and delicious Mashed Butternut Squash, an ideal side dish for almost any meal. Once called "the apple of God," the butternut squash was prized by American Indians, who believed its seeds increased fertility. A member of the cucurbitaceae family, which includes gourds and melons, this versatile verile veggie is packed with more than just flavour — it's also loaded with vitamin A, fibre, potassium and magnesium, and like most vegetables, is fat, sodium and cholesterol-free. Since this pear-shaped vegetable made its debut into the consumer market in the mid 1940's, it's made a big impression, working its way into soups, casseroles and curries throughout the world. With a sweet, nutty taste that's almost indistinguishable from pumpkin, this butternut squash recipe is a family favourite, mashed with a little butter, a dash of ground nutmeg and glug of pure Canadian maple syrup, it's simply gourd-gious any time of the year. 

Butternut squash is a type of winter squash, with a sweet, nutty taste similar to pumpkin

The thin skin can easily be removed with vegetable peeler

The stringy pulp and seeds that collect at the base of the squash are scooped out and discarded

Chopped into 1-inch pieces, the squash is steamed over high heat for 12-15 minutes until soft and tender

Butternut Squash with Butter, Nutmeg & Maple Syrup
Serves 10-12

2 large butternut squash
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup or brown sugar
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, and using a heavy knife, slice each squash in half length-wise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the stringy fibres and seeds, then chop the squash into 1-inch pieces. Fill a pot fitted with a steamer basket with about 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Place a portion of the squash in the basket, then cover and steam until soft and tender, about 12-15 minutes. Empty the cooked squash into a large pot, and continue to steam the remaining squash in batches until done. 

Mash the squash until smooth, then season with the butter, nutmeg and maple syrup and blend until well combined. Reheat the squash over medium-low until it's warmed through, and serve immediately with a dot of butter and flurry of ground nutmeg as a final garnish.

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