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Baked Butternut Squash with Onion Caramel

Serves: 4
Original recipe: Page 54-55 The Chef’s Garden By Farmer Lee Jones
Kosher issue: Meat and dairy
Recipe adapted by: Chef Jordana Hirschel

This recipe called for cornish hens glazed with a buttery onion caramel. After speaking with Chef Jamie Simpson, I learned that the focus of the dish was not chicken itself, but the onion caramel. In keeping with this highlight, I have chosen to use a butternut squash in place of the hen — the results were fabulous.

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise
¼ cup Onion Caramel (recipe follows)
Kosher salt, to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a large roasting pan with ½ inch of water.
2. Place squash, cut side down, into the roasting pan. Cover tightly and cook until fork tender, about 1½ hours. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. While still warm, remove seeds and peel. Alternatively, peel butternut squash before roasting.
3. Turn the broiler to high and set an oven rack closest to the heat source. Brush squash with onion caramel and broil until golden, about 2 minutes. Brush again with onion caramel and continue to broil, until just beginning to char. Lightly season with salt before serving.

For the Onion Caramel
2½ pounds (1.1 kg) sweet onions, coarsely chopped
½ cup (100 g) sugar
½ cup (1 stick or 110 g) unsalted butter, diced
⅓ cup (80 ml) heavy cream
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
1. Using a juicer, juice the onions, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Alternatively, purée onions in a blender or food processor and force the purée through a strainer. You should have about 1½ cups of juice, but it’s okay if there’s more because the liquid will evaporate.
2. Transfer juice to a 2-quart saucepan and have a thermometer on hand. Add sugar and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, stirring, until temperature reaches 240℉, then remove from heat and let rest for 1 minute.
3. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking until it’s incorporated before adding the next cube. Slowly whisk in cream and salt until fully incorporated. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

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