Thanksgiving Honey Nut Squash Braise

Thanksgiving is just a bit over a week away, so I’ll be posting recipes inspired by the holiday – sweet, succulent, rich 🙂

Honey Nut Squash is a butternut squash hybrid small enough to fit into your toddler’s play kitchen oven. Its flesh is a bit darker, the skin has a lustrous shimmer to it, and the taste is sweeter than a butternut’s, so it’s an all-around lovely little holiday food. Plus it looks good as a table decoration.
Braising honey nut squash with dried cranberries gives this dish a wonderful Thanksgiving flavor, especially if you have some fresh sage and thyme on hand to add to the pan.
Ilian loved this introduction to America’s premier culinary holiday: He snacked on dried cranberries (the fresh ones last night didn’t go over so well), found out that cinnamon sticks are not sausages but still happily munched on one, and kept one of the honey nuts to feed his toy trucks.

If you can’t get your hands on honey nut squashes, butternut squash will work just as well. In fact, this recipe is a variation on a butternut squash braise that uses prunes instead of cranberries, so you can simply substitute with what you find in your pantry.
I used amaranth to accompany this dish, but other grains like rice, quinoa, or couscous (if you eat gluten) are equally good. Happy cooking!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup amaranth
  • 3 to 4 honey nut squashes or 1 butternut squash
  • 1/2 small onion (regular or sweet)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 TBsp canola oil
  • 1 TBsp lime juice
  • 2 TBsp honey (or maple syrup for a vegan diet)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 large leaves fresh sage
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a pinch ground cloves
  • water

Directions

  1. Combine amaranth with 2 3/4 cups water, bring to a boil, cover and cook on medium low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the mix starts to thicken, reduce heat to a simmer and stir frequently for an additional 10 minutes. Once the amaranth has reached a porridge-like consistency, remove pot from heat and set aside.
  2. Chop the sage, remove thyme leaves from stems. Peel and halve the squashes, remove seeds, cube. Thinly slice the onion.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan, add squash, onion, cranberries, lime juice, honey, and spices. Fry for about 5 minutes, until onions start to become translucent.
  4. Add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, let cook for 10-15 minutes, until squash is tender.
  5. Plate the amaranth, top with squash braise. Serve and enjoy!

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