It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I love the holidays with a passion that is only rivaled by that which I have for the Saints. Everything about this season makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside: the caroling, the lights and the sappy holiday movies on Lifetime. But, my favorite part of all is the cooking! Maybe it’s the smell of cinnamon and brown sugar and sage and rosemary, or maybe it’s the fact that the food I am preparing will be shared with the people I love, but there is something about holiday cooking that never feels like work to me. Everything from planning the menu to making my shopping list to going to the grocery fills me with joy and excitement and a feeling of utter contentment.
I have always found myself more intrigued by recipes for side dishes than for the main dish itself. That is until a few years ago when I found a recipe for a Pomegranate-Jalepeno Glazed Ham. It is the easiest dish to make and truly flavorful and delicious, and because of that, it has become a staple at our holiday table. I love that I can get it prepared ahead of time and that it requires very little attention once it’s in the oven. Knowing that our main dish is set, I focus on changing up the sides we serve. We’ve done everything from a wild rice salad to smashed sweet potatoes with bananas.
This year, I thought it would be fun to play off of the spiciness in the pomegranate-jalepeno glaze by serving it with Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Chipotle Chili Flakes. Butternut squash is one of my favorite things. Its beautiful hue adds a nice punch of color to your plate, and its flavor when roasted is just amazing. The brown sugar and salt in this recipe combine to make a sweet and salty syrup your guests will love, and it is enhanced by the smoky spiciness of the chipotle chili flakes (which can be found at Whole Foods). I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as our family and add a little spice to your holiday menu!
Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar and Chipotle Chili Flakes
Serves 2-4 as a side dish
- One small butternut squash (mine was one pound)
- Two tablespoons of melted butter
- Four tablespoons of brown sugar
- One teaspoon of sea salt (Kosher also works – the flakiness adds a nice texture)
- Pinch of chipotle chili flakes
1. After pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees, cut squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and the flesh leaving an empty cavity.
2. Brush squash flesh with melted butter.
3. Sprinkle squash with brown sugar, salt and chipotle chili flakes.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until flesh is soft when poked with a fork. Enjoy!