Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Mashed Squash with Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Reduction

I've still got some squash stashed in the pantry - I hope you do too. It will be gone from the grocery stores unless you get quite lucky, but farmers markets should still have some.

The directions for making this got kind of long, but really this was very easy to make. I thought the rich but almost rough flavour of the garlic balanced with the sweet balsamic and squash really well.

This is best served with some fairly plainly roasted meat, and since the oven is on anyway that's easy to do. You can adjust the temperature the squash roasts at if your other dish requires it but it will then need longer to cook. Better to get it in too early than too late - as noted, it can be reheated and it will hold in the oven quite well.

8 servings
2 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Mashed Squash with Roasted Garlic & Balsamic Reduction

1 1.5 kilo (3 to4 lb) butternut, sweetmeat, or similar squash
1 large head of garlic
a little mild vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half, and remove the seeds and stringy bits. If the squash pieces are more than in inch thick, cut them into smaller chunks. Rub the squash pieces lightly with a little oil and spread them in a baking tray. Bake them for 1 hour to an hour and a quarter, until easily pierced with a fork.

Once the squash is in the oven, trim the base and top off the head of garlic - just enough to expose the cloves. Wrap it loosely in a bit of foil, and add it to the oven with the squash. It should roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until soft.

When both squash and garlic are tender, remove them from the oven and let them cool enough to handle. Peel the squash pieces and place them in a large but shallow mixing bowl. Peel the garlic cloves and add them as well. Mash them thoroughly together with the salt, pepper and butter. Spread the mashed squash in a lightly oiled baking dish. This can be done a day ahead of time, if you like; it will just then require extra time in the oven to heat the squash purée again.

Either return the squash to the oven to keep warm, or reheat it at 350° the next day; you had better allow at least half an hour for it to be hot through in that case. In any event, drizzle the balsamic reduction over the hot squash just before serving.

To Make the Balsamic Reduction:
1/3 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey

Put the vinegar and honey in as small a pot as you have, and cook it over medium heat, stirring regularly, until it reduced in volume by half. Immediately pour it into a little dish to cool.

If you are proceeding directly to serving the squash as soon as it is prepared, make the balsamic reduction while the squash is baking for the first time. Otherwise, make it while the squash is being re-heated. 

Last year at this time I made Beef Pot-Roast with Horseradish Sauce.

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