Last week I wrote about the soup (almost a bisque) I made from roasted butternut squash. This week I am trying several new recipes for sweet potato chips but using cubed, sliced, and long thin strands of butternut squash that are variously seasoned with rosemary, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, or cayenne pepper. In this recipe I cut the squash into large pieces and spice them with black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, and fresh grated ginger root. Very delicious and warming and just in time for the cold snap that has descended on us this week.
I got the idea for squash chips from a recipe for sweet potato chips. Sweet potatoes are difficult to grow this far north but winter squashes like butternut squash produce abundantly. Butternut squash works well as a substitute for sweet potatoes and I think carrots would probably work also. I modified the recipe by adding cinnamon to the spice ingredients, doubling the black pepper to a full teaspoon (keep it a half if you are not a fan of pepper), and replacing the walnut oil with sesame oil and the honey with maple syrup.
Using butternut squash instead of sweet potato is a little challenging because of the squash’s thick rind. It is not easy to peel and if you don’t cut deep enough you will leave some of the stringy fibers that are just under the skin. I found that by soaking the squash in boiling water made the skin easier to remove. First, get some water boiling. In the meantime put the squash in a pan large enough to accommodate it and the water. I used an oval roasting pan. When the water is at a rolling boil carefully pour it into the pan. Cover the pan and let it sit until the water is cool enough to safely touch. I used a paring knife to peel the squash. Treating the squash with hot water made it a lot easier to peel than a fresh squash. Once the squash is peeled cut it into small chunks about an inch wide and thick. Some of the chunks I cut were cubical but others had triangular outlines but both shapes cooked thoroughly.
3 pounds of butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup maple syrup, honey, or agave syrup
3 Tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 Teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
Mix the maple syrup, ginger, sesame oil, cardamom, black pepper, and cinnamon in a bowl. Next, add the cubed squash and mix so that the pieces are thoroughly covered. Bake in a 400° pre-heated oven in a cast iron skillet. After 20 minutes flip the squash pieces over and bake for 20 more minutes until there is some sign of caramelizing and the pieces are fork tender. Serve warm as a side dish or even as desert.