Sunday, June 29, 2014

52WoC Week 23: Confit - Butternut Squash Confit Mash

For those who don't know, confit is the process of cooking meat in it's own fat, typically at a lower temperature, to maximize the flavor of the meat. Instead of meat, I decided to change things up and use butternut squash. By going with the confit method before making the mash, it ensures that the flavors of the oil penetrate the squash thoroughly. By adding garlic and fresh thyme to the oil, the squash absorbs all the flavor, not to mention that it gives you an amazingly flavored olive oil to use for other things. It may seem like its not worth all the effort to confit the squash just to mash it but it truly adds another level of depth to what would be a simple butternut squash mash. Making this mash without the confit step is like TLC without Left Eye, you want it to be the same but it just isn't.

Butternut Squash Confit Mash

Qty Ingredient Procedure
1 medium butternut squash (about 1.5 lb)
  1. Preheat your oven to 225°F.
  2. Peel and clean your squash. Cut into wedges.
4 cloves garlic
  1. Put the garlic, thyme, and squash in a baking dish. Cover with olive oil.
  2. Bake until tender - roughly 2 hours. Remove squash from the oil and let sit until room temperature.
2 sprigs fresh thyme
olive oil
2 tbsp cream
  1. Mash the squash with a teaspoon of the leftover oil. Add the cream and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Run oil through a coffee filter and save for flavoring dishes.
2 tsp brown sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 225°F; slow and low is the name of the game here. Cleaning a butternut squash is kind of like cleaning a pumpkin which either gives you warm and fuzzies or nightmares. Start by cutting off the ends of the squash. Then using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off. Cut the squash in half and use a spoon to take out the seeds and connective tissue. Cut the pieces down to about half inch strips. It really doesn't matter what shape you make them as long as they are all about the same size. Place in a baking dish with 4 whole cloves of garlic and two sprigs of thyme. Cover the squash with olive oil - there should be about a quarter of an inch over the squash. Place in the oven until tender - about 2 hours.

Take the squash out of the oil and let sit until room temperature. Mash with the cream and brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. You may not need the sugar but I think it helps bring out the full flavor of the butternut squash. Also, if you don't want to make a mash, you can take some of the excess oil and fry the squash in that to give it a nice crunchy exterior. Regardless, run the oil through a coffee filter and save for vinaigrette or flavoring other dishes.

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