Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Recipe: Killer Butternut Squash Tacos with Salsa Verde

I'm always trying to think of new ways to eat tacos. I never tire of wrapping things in tortillas with some lime and some heat. I've filled tacos with beef and pork and chicken and fish and turkey. I've roasted meat and grilled meat and cooked it stove-top. I've cooked black beans and pinto beans and pidgeon peas for taco filling. And so, not surprisingly, I was thinking about how to make a vegetarian taco that had more vegetables.

Butternut squash to the rescue. I like to serve these with salsa verde, so I've included that recipe, too.

Let me say here that I made this dish for my cousin and her kids (both aged 16). All of them loved it. The point being -- serve this to your family and they won't mind at all missing meat for one night. In fact, I'm having a hankering right now.

You will need:
1 butternut squash
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
ground cumin
ancho chili powder
olive oil
good tortillas (you really need good ones for this, so do yourself a favor and get thee to a proper mexican market, like the one pictured above)
fresh cilantro -- two bunches
pinch of mexican oregano

serrano chilis, one or two, depending on how much heat you like
one yellow onion, diced
queso fresco

The prep:
This prep is really easy. Cleaning butternut squash is a huge pain, but once that is done, you can finish this on autopilot. Clean and dice the butternut squash in to bite-sized cubes. Toss with olive oil, 2 finely diced garlic cloves, lots of cumin and ancho chili powder. Spread out on a cookie tray so that it makes one layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt and roast at 350 degrees for 45 min to 1 hour. Check it after 45 minutes. When the squash is soft, you're ready to go.

For the salsa verde:
Clean and quarter the tomatillos. Clean and dice the serrano chili. Add a bit of olive oil in a small soup pot and add the chili, tomatillo, oregano and a pinch of salt. The tomatillos will start to break down after they cook for about 10 minutes. You want them simmering, but not scorching. Add the vinegar -- about a teaspoon -- and let it cook for a few more minutes. Then remove from heat and taste for salt. Finely dice one bunch of the cilantro and add it. Toss the salsa in the fridge to cool.

Serve the squash on good tortillas (heat them individually in a dry, hot sautee pan), as well as your salsa verde, diced queso fresco, lime, diced onion and chopped fresh cilantro.

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