From Nelsons Kitchen

Moroccan Roasted Butternut Squash

From Nelson’s Kitchen

I created this recipe after trying to make Spiced Lentils with Pumpkin a few times. It is a Moroccan recipe by Tess Mallos that I found in The food of Morocco: a journey for food lovers. In that recipe the squash and the lentils are cooked together, with correct timing, but in a stewed fashion. I decided to instead roast the squash with spices and add to the very end. One issue with roasting squash is that often it falls apart into a mush. Thus I remembered that my Mom, Dioraci Urtassum, makes a sweet squash dish where it is cooked for a long time in sirup and never falls apart. The secret it to use calcium to set the pectin in the squash before cooking it. Thus I resorted to pickle crisp, which is a calcium product used to ensure that pickles remain crisp. In Edmonton I found pickle crisp at Canadian Tire.

  1. Prepare the pumping
    • Peel the pumpkin removing all the white part of the peel.
    • Cut the pumpkin in 3/4-inch cubes.
    • Mix one tablespoon of pickle crisp with half gallon of cold water.
    • Put the pumpkin in the water and let soak for at least 45 minutes. It can soak overnight.
  2. Season the pumpkin
    • Drain the pumpkin and rinse under running cold water.
    • Leave in a colander or strainer until most of the water has dripped off.
    • Mix the spices in a small bowl.
    • Sprinkle the salt over the pumpkin tossing by lifting the bowl.
    • Sprinkle the spices on the salted pumpkin.
    • Let it seat for at least 45 minutes, but up to several hours.
  3. Roast the pumpkin
    • Put a light colour metal rimmed baking sheet in the over.
    • Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
    • Once the oven is hot, remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, and put the olive oil on it making sure to spread over a large area in the center
    • Transfer the seasoned pumpkin from the bowl onto the oiled baking sheet and put back in the oven.
    • Roast for 45 minutes.
    • Using a spatula, turn the pumpkin pieces around, rotate the baking sheet.
    • Continue roasting for another 15 to 30 minutes until a sharp paring knife pierces through the pieces of pumpkin easily
  4. Serving or using in another recipe
    • You can serve warm immediately after roasting.
    • If using in another recipe, it can be prepared a day in advance, cooled, placed into the refrigerator, and warmed up either in the over or in the microwave the next day.