Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Flavors, The Remix: Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries

Like we've discussed before, I'm a holiday person.  The minute it strikes midnight on November 1st, I become the most Melody version Melody can possibly be and I enter my element.  Strap on some jingle bells, power up with some eggnog, and tightly clutching pumpkin in one hand and cranberries in the other, brace yourself- it's time to get festive.

I borrowed this recipe from Tracy of Shutterbean and made it my own.  Tracy is Joy the Baker's BFF.  And therefore, I want to be BFF with both of them always and forever.  But you already knew that.  Anyway, this recipe tastes like all the festive holiday flavors you love wrapped into one amazingly healthy, comforting and delicious package.  What could be better?

Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large or 2 small apples, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 and 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper*
1 Tbsp orange zest*
1 and 1/2 Tbsp Sugar in the Raw or brown sugar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

*Optional

Preheat your oven to 400 and get ready to do some mad chopping.  Confession:  I like chopping things so much that sometimes I cook something for the sole purpose of satisfying my therapeutic chopping needs and desires.  This is the perfect time to satisfy that need.

Let's get that butternut out of the way first.  You could use two large sweet potatoes if you prefer, but the butternut is really worth it.  Cut it in half across so it's easier to deal with.  Cut the half with seeds in it in half lengthwise and scoop them all out with a spoon.  Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the skin off the whole thing and cut it into cute little 1/2 inch cubes.  This is not an exact science.  As you chop each vegetable, start tossing it onto a shallow baking dish or roasting pan lined with foil to prevent extreme messiness.

Now Brussels Sprouts.  You're going to want to trim the ends a good bit so they're not tough.  After that, peel off the outer layer and split them in half.  Done and done.  Onion.  Apple.  Cranberries.
Pretty!
Time to make the dressing.  Did you know that salad dressing is the easiest ever to make?  That's really all this is.  Find a jar or container with a resealable lid.  I used sweet li'l old jam jar.  In the jar, combine the curry powder, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and cinnamon, cayenne and orange zest, if you're using those optional ingredients.  I REALLY wanted to use orange zest but didn't have any.  If you have it, please use it.  Shake it like a polaroid picture.

Drizzle the mixture over the pretty chopped stuff and use your hands to toss.  Aren't you so glad to get this moisturizing treat for those dry winter hands?  Lovely.  Smooth into an even layer and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the mix.  You don't need to mix in the sugar.  Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.  Stir gently.  Back in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

While your veggies are working in the oven, you might want to prepare some couscous, wild rice, or quinoa on the stovetop, using chicken or vegetable broth instead of water.  Prepare according to package directions.  I used quinoa in some homemade turkey stock.  When the veggies are done, serve yourself a heap of them over your grain of choice.  I was feeling super cozy, so I drizzled the tiniest amount of grade B maple syrup (less sweet than your average bear) over the whole thing.  Yum.


I used to be afraid of curry or cooking anything with curry.  How dumb was that?  It's delicious.
What are you hesitant to try?  Afraid of?

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3 comments:

Sonja Foust said...

Yum! Looks good! But, do you have any suggestions for people who DON'T like chopping? ;)

-Sonja

Melody Ann said...

Hi, Sonja! Luckily, Whole foods sells already peeled and chopped butternut squash in their refrigerator case and their freezer case! I bet frozen brussels sprouts would work just fine too, but they wouldn't get quite as caramelized since they are usually sold whole rather than in halves.

JenMarie said...

Love this recipe! I wanted to try it, but made a different version instead for Thanksgiving. I had sweet potatoes already, squash seemed to overdo it. :)

I should try this next week or so, tho. Looks great. I am sorta afraid of curry, too. Maybe I need to be brave.