This butternut squash (pumpkin) recipe is the perfect side dish for a festive Thanksgiving feast or a very nice vegetarian dinner! The amazingly tasty combination of flavors work so well together with the sweetness of the syrup, flavor of the squash and the savory bay leaves. It is also a great recipe to use on a grill for a fall picnic or a holiday barbecue! Not only does it taste like a gourmet dish, but is also looks like one on the plate, drizzled with syrup and topped with decorative and flavorful bay leaves. The tenderness of the squash with melt in your mouth and the combination of flavors create a culinary masterpiece that your guests will rave about over and over again! Be prepared to write this recipe down over and over again, so it is always a hit!
- 1/2 medium butternut squash (pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh chili peppers
- 5 bay leaves
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise so you have two long pieces. Using a tablespoon, scoop out the seeds and fleshy inside of the squash taking care to leave as much of the squash as possible and not scooping too close the bottom. Use a peeler to remove all the skin. Place peeled butternut squash on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and ground black pepper. Place squash in the oven at 200C (390F) for 15 minutes or until slightly tender but not cooked all the way through.
- In a pot, add 1/4 cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar. Let syrup mixture melt together while stirring consistently to avoid burning. Once syrup mixture is well incorporated, add 1 tablespoon of fresh chili peppers and bring to a boil. Let simmer until thickened with the consistency of syrup.
- After removing the butternut squash from the oven and letting cool, make slits every inch from the bottom to the top of the squash. Be very careful not to cut all the way through the squash. The slits are to hold the syrup and keep the flavoring. We do not want to cut the squash in half, but make small slices to hold the liquid. Using 5 bay leaves, rip into smaller pieces and place in slits every 3-4 inches.
- Place butternut squash back into the over for 40-50 minutes or until completely tender and cooked all the way through. Every ten minutes, open the cover and glaze squash with syrup mixture, making sure to get the syrup into every slit along the squash. The syrup will help the squash become brown and delicious as it cooks.
- Once done, remove from baking sheet with a spatula and place on serving dish. Use any additional syrup you have to drizzle over the butternut squash. Leave the bay leaves in when serving for a beautifully decorative appearance and let people take them out, or remove all of the bay leaves before serving.
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