Next to acorn squash, butternut is my favorite hard squash; it’s so versatile. Like so many hard squash, it soaks up flavors and is so hearty and filling.
I was going through a real block as a cook – I’m sure it happens to most cooks – and in looking for inspiration to get back my umpf, I spent several hours reading 64 sq ft kitchen‘s blog posts. I learned that The Maghreb – those countries in northern Africa that were colonized by the French, including Morocco, Algeria and Tunisa – while similar, have some differences. Pomegranates, dried fruits like dates, figs and apricots figure in their cuisine and I remembered that I had some pomegranate molasses and decided to try it out on this squash. Excellent inspiration!
If you don’t have an ethnic grocer (Middle Eastern, Eastern European, or African) near by, you can make your own pomegranate molasses fairly easily. Simply combine 3 cups fresh pomegranate juice (the freshest you can find), add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and cook on high heat until reduced by half. Allow to cool, and voila, zee pomegranate molasses!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate Molasses and Smoked Paprika (serves 2)
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1/2 inch cubes)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, divided
1 teaspoon salt
mint for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In cast iron skillet or heavy bottomed pan toast cumin and coriander seeds for 2-3 minutes until browning and fragrant. Remove from heat and grind in a mortar and pestle with 1 teaspoon of salt until finely blended. In large mixing bowl, toss squash with olive oil and spice mixture until well blended. Drizzle on 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses and paprika and toss well. Bake for 30 minute until edges are crisp. Remove from oven and add remaining pomegranate molasses if desired and garnish with mint.
Recipes currently inspiring me: