Roasted Winter Squash with Elderberry Glaze & Spiced Walnuts

Roasted Winter Squash with Elderberry Glaze & Spiced Walnuts
Roasted Winter Squash with Elderberry Glaze & Spiced Walnuts is another knock-out original from Forrest Mason of The Saucy Spork. This recipe would cozy up nicely to a pork tenderloin, which could roast in the oven alongside the squash for the final stretch! For a vegetarian twist, try pairing the squash with black bean cakes.

Quick Tip
Don’t have a crowd to feed? Any leftover pieces of roasted squash can be chopped up and tossed into a salad for an easy and healthy workweek lunch!

Ingredients For the Glazed Squash
  • 1/4 cup Norm's Farms Ginger Pecan Jam
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 kabocha squash
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
For the Spiced Walnuts
  • 2 cups walnut halves or pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Servings:              6 – 8
Active Time:     20 minutes
Total Time:        60 minutes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Begin by thoroughly rinsing and drying the kabocha squash. Cut off the top and bottom of the squash and remove the seeds and pulp by scraping the interior with a spoon. Cut the squash in half vertically to make things easier. Now cut each half into 3/4-inch vertical strips, or half moons. There is no need to remove the peel as it is thin, edible and delicious. Set aside for now.
  2. Unlike the kabocha, the peel on the butternut squash is pretty thick and as such, is not so tasty. Remove the peel of the squash and then cut the top portion into 3/4-inch rounds until you reach the “bulb” end of the squash. From here, cut the remainder of the squash using the same technique as described in step 1 to produce 3/4-inch half moons.
  3. While you are still at the cutting board, remove enough leaves from fresh sprigs of thyme to fill a tablespoon. Run your knife through the leaves a few times and set aside. If you are using freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice (highly recommended), go ahead and cut them now in preparation for the end of step 4.
  4. Melt the stick of butter listed in the Elderberry Glaze section in a small saucepot over low heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the ¼ cup of Norm’s Farms Elderberry Ginger Pecan Jam until it is thoroughly incorporated, approximately one minute. Turn off the heat and whisk in the orange juice, lemon juice, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper.
  5. Set out a large roasting pan and a large mixing bowl. Put half of the cut squash into the mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the squash. Drizzle half of the elderberry glaze over the squash and toss again to evenly coat the squash. Transfer the squash to the roasting pan and repeat the step with the remaining pieces of squash and elderberry glaze. Tossing the squash in a mixing bowl before you place the pieces into the roasting pan will ensure that any excess glaze will not sit in the bottom of the roasting pan and burn.
  6. Spread the pieces of squash across the roasting pan so that they are in a single layer. If there are a couple of pieces that overlap, it's not going to be a deal breaker; they may just not brown as much as the others. Place the roasting pan on the center rack and roast the squash for 25 minutes.
  7. After the 25 minutes are up, stir the squash to promote even cooking/browning and then return the pan to the oven to roast for another 25 minutes, or until the squash is deeply colored and soft. 
  8. While the squash is in the final stage of roasting, it's time to make the spiced walnuts. Melt the two tablespoons of butter into a small or medium skillet over low heat and toast the walnuts for five minutes until they have taken on a little bit of color. Reduce the heat to low and add in the spices along with some salt and pepper. Stir continuously to coat the nuts in the spices and cook for a minute to activate the flavors. Turn off the heat and pour the nuts out onto a plate to let cool.
  9. When the squash is finished, remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the squash to a large serving platter. Sprinkle the spiced walnuts over the top and garnish with additional thyme leaves. Serve warm.

Forrest Mason is a Brooklyn-based chef, writer and photographer, and founder of the food blog The Saucy Spork. where he produces and photographs a new home-cook friendly recipe each week. The Saucy Spork, a self-described “safe haven of sorts,” officially launched in February of 2015 and is a corner of the interwebs where comfort food and encouragement are prized and promoted above all else. Peruse the 50+ recipes available on the website for the home cook to enjoy, each one complete with rich and mouth-watering photographs, in-depth step by step instructions with extra attention paid to thoroughly describing cooking techniques and concepts as well as printable recipe PDFs with removable shopping lists that can be reused as “cookbook bookmarks.” Forrest has worked in professional kitchens off and on for the majority of his working life, with his most recent stint of working behind the line being at the busy, upscale seafood house, Atlantic Grill, on the Upper West Side across from Lincoln Center.
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