Friday, December 10, 2010

Honey Chipotle Acorn Squash

Ideally, I'd like to post a new recipe every few days. But this only works when we a) are cooking and b) have time to take the pictures. There wasn't much cooking this past week, and the recipe we did for Monday dinner (shredded beef and cheddar flautas) ended up taking so long to cook that we threw something else together and had it on Tuesday. Since I was on campus Tuesday and not home until late, Jeff ended up finishing the recipe without me (I'm not complaining - that means that food was ready right when I got home!). We didn't end up cooking again until today.

This side dish was actually made on Monday to accompany the beef that refused to shred until 9:30 pm. Instead, it accompanied leftover stuffed shells. I had thought about blogging the recipe then, but with the haphazardness of our dinner, I decided to skip it.

This was a fortunate decision, for now you all get to benefit from my busy-ness. You see, the chipotle was a little intense. I mean eye-tearing, tastebud-scalding intense. I took the slender wedge of squash in my hand and ate it like a slice of watermelon. Unfortunately, that puts the full intensity of the chipotle right on the tongue. Bad idea. It's hard to compel your tastebuds to operate again after that sort of shock. I'm pretty sure Jeff would agree - we were both running for the milk after that side dish.

Yet we still thought it was worth a second shot. We agreed that some additional sweetness would help mitigate some of the intensity of the chipotle. Tonight we tried again - this time, with some honey (although I think maple syrup might be nice as well).

The result? Much better than the first time (well, also because we've learned not to put the chipotle right on the tongue). I did not need the milk at all. The chipotle still has quite a kick, but the sweetness of the honey adds another dimension, so it's not all kick. When looking through variations of this recipe online, I saw one comment that said the sweetness of the acorn squash goes well with the spiciness of the chipotle. I don't actually think acorn squash is very sweet. Nothing like a butternut, or, dare I suggest, buttercup (which I actually found too sweet for my taste, and I have a big sweet tooth!). If you do think acorn is sweet enough, you may want to reduce or eliminate the honey. I do agree, though, that the spiciness works well with the squash. If you're looking for an alternative to maple-glazed squash (which seems to be the standard preparation), I think this is a pretty solid option.

Honey Chipotle Acorn Squash
Adapted from Joelen's Culinary Adventures.

1 acorn squash
1 tbsp olive oil (I use light for cooking)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground chipotle chile
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut the stem off the acorn squash, then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds and stringy pulp out with a spoon. Slice each half into 3/4" wedges and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

Combine olive oil, garlic, ground chipotle, salt, pepper and honey in a bowl. Whisk to blend (if the mixture is too viscous, as mine was, you might want to add a bit more oil to loosen it up). Pour over the squash and toss to coat (you may want to do this step in a bowl - my baking pan had high sides, so I was able to use it effectively).

Roast squash for about 20 minutes, until tender. Serve.

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