Friday, December 17, 2010

Butternut Squash and Roasted Poblano Casserole

I celebrated Thanksgiving this year with friends in Culver City. Everyone brought a dish. My friend, Mary Beth Puffer, made a fabulous squash and roasted poblano casserole. She said it was a variation of a recipe from the Food and Wine website. Food and Wine gives credit to chef, Julie Robles, at Tavern restaurant.

It's a little work, but so worth the effort. At Thanksgiving it was a hearty side dish, but it makes a rich and beautiful vegetarian entree as well. Here's a version that serves six.

3 large poblano peppers (about 3/4 lb)
1 large butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
4-5 T extra virgin olive oil
3/4 t coarsely chopped thyme
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 t coarsely chopped oregano
1/4 C heavy cream
1/3 C sour cream or creme fraiche
2 T finely diced jalapenos
4 oz Monterey Jack or Manchego cheese, shredded
4 oz farmer cheese
toasted pumpkin seeds

1. Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under the broiler until they are charred all over. Transfer them to a bowl. Cover and allow them to cool. When cool, peel, stem, and seed the peppers (compost the discards) and cut the peppers into thin strips.

2. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Peel the squash. Compost the seeds and peels. Cut the squash crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices.

3. Brush the squash slices with 2-3 T olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/2 t thyme, salt and pepper. Roast squash at 400 degrees until tender, about 25 minutes.

4. While squash is roasting, heat 1-2 T olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion, garlic, oregano and 1/4 t thyme. Cook over moderate heat until the onion is soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

5. Add the roasted poblano strips and cook until very tender, about 5 minutes.

6. Add the heavy cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

7. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream or creme fraiche and the jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Spoon half of the poblano mixture into a large baking dish. Top with half the butternut squash and half the shredded cheese and farmer cheese. Repeat the same layers.

9. Bake at 425 degrees until the gratin is golden and bubbling, about 20-30 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds before serving.

Mary Beth added 1T of pickled persimmon juice to her casserole. She said it added a little zing. If you don't happen to have pickled persimmon juice, you can try 1-2 t rice vinegar. Stir it into the poblano mixture.



Today's harvest included:

romaine lettuce or cilantro
2 # broccoli or 2 # onions
turnips or beets
cabbage or 3 avocados
cauliflower or 1 # limes
butternut squash
satsuma mandarins
1 # parsnips
1 # potatoes

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