Thursday, November 18, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples & Dill

Roasted vegetables are one of the biggest trends of 2010. I've developed a simple roasted vegetable recipe that will be perfect side dish for your holiday meal. I think you'll enjoy the subtle sweetness of the roasted squash and apples. It's much less cloying that some traditional squash or sweet potato dishes. The dill is an unusual addition to the recipe and really brings out an herbaceous quality in the apples.

Serves 8

8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
4 cups Butternut squash, medium dice*
2 cups sweet onion (e.g. Walla Walla; Maui; Vidalia, etc.), medium dice*
3 cups apples, medium dice*
1 tbsp fresh dill, minced
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Set aside.

Combine squash, onions and 6 tbsp melted butter in a large mixing bowl. Toss gently to coat.

Spread squash mixture onto a buttered baking sheet. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the squash is just tender, approximately 20 minutes.

Remove baking sheet from the oven. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Uncover the squash. Toss apples with the remaining 2 tbsp of melted butter. Add buttered apples to the roasted squash on the baking sheet and return to the oven. Bake uncovered until the apples and squash begin to brown in spots, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the dish with fresh dill and salt and pepper to taste. The dish can be served immediately or at room temperature.

Note: If you roast this dish in the morning before putting your turkey in the oven, you can let it sit at room temperature until serving or refrigerate and reheat it while you are making your gravy.

*medium dice = 1/2 inch cubes

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gravy Grievances Be Gone

Does the thought of making homemade gravy freak you out? Does your gravy come out lumpy or greasy?   Do you secretly keep canned gravy in the pantry, just in case?  Chef Erin Coopey of Culinary Artist Enterprises gives you 3 simple tips for making fool-proof gravy every time!

Gravy seems to be one of those kitchen mysteries for many people. Really it's just a simple pan sauce and with a few helpful hints you'll be making gravy like a pro.

The basic recipe for turkey gravy is:

1/4 cup fat (reduced pan drippings)
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

When you have finished roasting your turkey, remove it from the pan along with any onions or other vegetables you may have cooked it on. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked vegetables so that you leave as much jus (drippings) in the pan as possible.

Place the roasting pan over a couple burners on your stovetop. Reduce (simmer) the drippings over medium-high heat until you have about 1/4 cup left in the pan.

Lower heat to medium. Add 1/4 cup of four and stir until the flour becomes a smooth paste.

Very slowly, add chicken broth to the flour paste while whisking constantly. Don't be afraid to stop adding broth for a moment until you can whisk the mixture smooth. The key to smooth gravy is constant whisking.* Continue to whisk until you have added all four cups of broth. If you like other flavors in your gravy, such as pureed giblets, fresh herbs or wine, feel free to add them at this time. Reduce heat and simmer until the gravy reaches the desired thickness.

Finish with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 cups.

*If you do end up with some lumps in your gravy, simply pour the gravy through a sieve before serving. No one will know the difference!