Fall is my favorite season. Some really delicious vegetables are readily available and it’s the perfect time to go to farmer’s markets to pick the freshest and ripest ingredients. In my parent's house, we grew up eating butternut squash, or calabaza a LOT. It was mostly made into mashes, but on some occasions, mami would would roast them and season them with incredible herbs and spices.
Did you know that butternut squash, similar to pumpkin, is actually indigenous to Mexico? Butternut squash has got be one of my favorite vegetables. I just love the color and it is so versatile. It’s also a tremendous source of vitamins A & C, low in fat and not too high in sugar (though it gets sweeter as it’s cooked).
This recipe is extremely easy, but full of seasonal spices and aromas. Because the squash is a tough veggie, it can take some time to steam, bake or roast. So what do you think I used to cook my 5 lb. squash? A pressure cooker, of course! I cut it up, placed a small amount of water in the pot (squash retains a lot of it own water, so you need to be careful not to add too much more) and let the pressure cooker do it's thing. Here's how you can make your own:
Spicy Butternut Squash Purée
◦ 1 medium to large size butternut squash
◦ 4 cups water
◦ 1 tsp. salt
◦ 4 cloves
◦ 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
◦ 1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg
◦ 1.5 tbsp. butter or margarine
◦ 3 tbsp. honey
◦ 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Peel and cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Using spoon, scoop out seeds. Cut into 5 or 6 chunks. Add water, squash, salt and cloves to pressure cooker. Close lid and cook on high pressure for 8-10 minutes. Turn of heat and allow ALL of pressure to be released. DO NOT attempt to open pressure cooker until all of the pressure is out (if you’re using an older, vintage model). [New note 11/12: allow all excess water to drain.] Place squash in large bowl. Using fork, mash well. If you’d like, you can remove the cloves. Add butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and honey. Stir until all ingredients have blended well.
For additional cooking advice from Bren Herrera, visit Flanboyanteats.com