I have a confession to make. I don’t like candied yams…or candied sweet potatoes or candied squash or any type of starchy vegetable dish that involves marshmallows or maple syrup. I just don’t. But, knowing these dishes are a staple on most Thanksgiving tables, I was hesitant to 86 them completely.
Instead, I decided to take a risk and make a simpler dish that showcases the vegetables, rather than drown them in sugar. Thin slices of acorn squash are spread on a cookie sheet and drizzled lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme leaves and just a light sprinkle of brown sugar. Pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, flip halfway through cooking and be amazed. The roasting process brings out all of the natural sugars in the squash, giving the veggie a slightly sweet, mellow flavor and a beautiful golden color.
To my great surprise, JiT’s family LOVED the dish — despite a short debate on whether or not to eat the skin (you can but I won’t make you). His mom even requested that I make a second batch and leave the recipe! And its so easy, I have no doubt that it will become a weeknight staple.
If you don’t see acorn squash at the store, you could likely substitute other varieties with similar success: delicata is my favorite, but even the ever-popular butternut, cut into small chunks, would be lovely. Pair this with baked chicken, pork chops or even a pot roast and you’ll be very pleased. Just hold the marshmallows.
Roasted Acorn Squash
Adapted from a recipe in Real Simple
1 medium-sized acron squash
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (enough for generous drizzling)
1 Tbs. light brown sugar
The leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice acorn squash in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and “guts” and discard. Slice the squash halves into half-moons, each should be about 1/3″ thick. Place the squash in a bowl (or directly on your cookie sheet), add the olive oil, brown sugar, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and toss to combine, using your hands. Arrange pieces on a cookie sheet in an even layer and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden, flipping the squash halfway through cooking.