Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. There. I’ve said it. 🙂
All that fun food brought by people showing off their best recipes? The outrageously delicious pies? How could it not be a foodie adventure?
But, wait, you say… remember Lola’s food puzzle dish? Unrecognizable in any food group that we could figure out? That’s why it’s an adventure. You never know what will turn up.
Last year, we were invited to dinner at a college pal’s house. (Translation – we go waaay back) Everybody brought a side dish and the butternut squash was one of the standouts. I happen to love butternut squash, but at home we usually have it whipped and buttered. Mary’s version is so much more interesting. She added chestnuts and rutabaga and now it’s the only way we serve it.
Mary told us the secret ingredients (she cooks creatively and doesn’t always make a dish the same way twice) and Sheila and I went to work on crafting a recipe that could be shared. Well…Sheila cooked and I tasted, to make sure the balance of flavors worked. I did do some wicked peeling, chopping, and scooping though. 😉
4-5 cups cooked Butternut Squash (4 pound squash yields 5-6 cups)
1 teaspoon olive oil, extra virgin, cold-pressed
1 teaspoon Sea Salt + 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons water for baking squash
2 cups cooked Rutabaga, rough mashed or pureed (1 medium rutabaga)
3 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 dozen Chestnuts, cooked and peeled, for garnish (Gefen sells a package of recipe-ready chestnuts – already peeled and cooked)
Pepper (to taste)
Start the prep of the squash first, then after it is in the oven, start the rutabaga prep.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Place whole squash in microwave. Prick 2-3 times with cooking fork. Microwave on high for 4 minutes to make it easier to slice.
- Remove from microwave and cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and place both sides face up on baking sheet.
- Lightly coat with olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt.
- Place 1 Tablespoon water in each of the bowls of squash, place tray in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Turn the butternut squash face down in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes, or until tender.
- Remove the squash from the oven, scoop out all the meat, place the meat in a standing electric mixer, and mix on high for 1 minute.
- Slow to medium speed and add butter, nutmeg, and cream. Mix until well blended.
- Peel the rutabaga and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
- Add 1 teaspoon Sea Salt to 2 quarts boiling water. Add rutabaga slices to the pot (Water should cover the rutabaga).
- Boil until tender enough to break apart when pierced – about 40 minutes.
- Drain rutabaga.
- Rough mash with spoon if you’d like a dish with texture or put through a food processor if you want a creamy mashed potato texture.
Add rutabaga to squash in the mixer bowl and whip on high for 3-4 minutes or until mashed potato consistency, adding salt if needed and pepper to taste.
If you are making this ahead of time, place the finished mixture into a large bowl suitable for reheating.
Garnish with chestnuts and serve.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
*Many thanks to Mary Gerrard for the delicious addition to the Thanksgiving table. 🙂
*Photo by Patti Phillips