Saturday, March 20, 2010

Moroccan Winter Squash with Caramelized Shallots

Oh, this was amazing. Almonds, raisins, and garlic really dress up the squash without being overwhelmingly sweet. Mint and lemon are the perfect light finish.

This recipe is adapted from Ghillie Basan's Modern Moroccan, which has gorgeous photos as well as excellent recipes!  I just noticed that it's quite expensive now on Amazon because it's not available new anymore, but they do have a couple of her other cookbooks, which I haven't tried but they're probably good.

2 lb winter squash (any variety is fine)
1/2 cup water
3-4 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
16-20 pink shallots, peeled
10-12 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt and ground black pepper
small bunch of mint, chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the squash into thick slices, and place in a covered casserole dish with the water to bake for about 45 minutes. You can either peel the squash before baking it, or just bake it and remove the skins later (this is what I did, because peeling uncooked squash is such a pain!)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet on medium-high, add the shallots and cook until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and almonds, tossing to coat them with oil, and cook until they begin to brown. Add the raisins, turn the heat down, and continue cooking until the shallots and garlic are caramelized. Stir in the cinnamon and a little water. Season well with salt and pepper. You may want to add a little extra salt because the squash is not salted.

Pile this mixture over the squash and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh mint and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over the vegetables.

This dish is wonderful on its own or with couscous, and maybe a dollop of plain yogurt. And as Dave says about everything, this would be great with a little red chile in it too!
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