Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Glazed Acorn Squash

When you've got good produce, it takes very little in terms of both ingredients and cooking technique to make an absolutely delicious dish, and this recipe is a prime example. Acorn, festival, and butternut squash all take particularly well to sweet glazes containing honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup and what are probably mostly commonly thought of as baking spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. The combination of fat, sweetener, spices, and a touch of salt is a dependable combination for preparing winter squash for elaborate holiday meals and weekday dinners alike. With those expert pairings in mind, I was able to quickly put this side together while attending to all other facets of the meal and watch it be eagerly gobbled down with all the other trappings of a hearty Thanksgiving meal. Although squash wasn't a part of my Thanksgiving dinner as a kid, I've made it for at least the last two holiday meals I've hosted and I can see it becoming a part of the traditions I'm crafting as an adult.

Like so many of the recipes I share, this recipe is open to myriad interpretations, depending on what ingredients you have hand and what you'll be pairing with the squash; roasting the squash and pureeing the flesh with the same ingredients also produces a splendid result. With such a bounty of squash in my CSA box I don't always have time for elaborate and highly creative dishes, but I can also to come back to solid simple recipes like this one without being disappointed.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Glazed Acorn Squash
serves 4

2 small to medium acorn or festival squash
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut squash in half and then into 1/2-inch-thick rings, discarding end pieces, and place in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet.

2. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt together. Brush the top half of the squash rings with half of the melted butter and sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Flip rings over, brush with the remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar mixture.

3. Roast squash rings for 10 to 12 minutes. Flip rings over and continue to roast until the squash rings are caramelized and tender, 10 to 15 minutes, depending on desired level of tenderness. Remove from over and serve warm.

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