Baked Acorn Squash with Spiced Brown Butter
A Sweet Winter Squash with Fragrant and Nutty Brown Butter
Fall is such a magnificent time for culinary artistry. Multitudes of comforting ingredients that play beautifully with some of the world’s most fragrant spices are in season. Pumpkin seems to be Autumn’s darling, though, getting the bulk of the attention in supermarkets and on menus, but if a pumpkin spiced latte is the only seasonal delight you have treated your tastebuds to, you’re really missing out!
Acorn squash is sweet, earthy, and naturally delicious even before other ingredients are added. The smaller size and thinner skin make it much easier to work with than some of the larger squash varieties. Plus, when cut in half, you have perfectly-sized, eye-appealing, individual servings.
For this preparation, I wanted to do something that teetered on the cusp of savory and sweet. Typically, when squash is served with butter, it is accompanied with loads of brown sugar but, as I mentioned before, this particular type of squash is incredibly sweet on its own, so it really doesn’t need sugar added. Instead, I used cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg to bring out the natural sweetness. The brown butter adds an unmistakable nuttiness to the dish and brings in an element of warmth, mellowing and melding the flavors together into a seamless, comforting dish!
Cinnamon, Clove, and Nutmeg Infused Brown Butter in a Baked Acorn Squash Well
- 2 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
- Coconut oil for roasting
- 1 stick of sweet cream, salted butter
- 6 cloves,
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground nutmeg, plus more for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350℉.
- Oil the pan for roasting and place the squash, cut-side down, on the pan. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the squash “meat”.
- Break the cinnamon sticks into several pieces, smash the cloves, and place them in a small saucepan with the butter.
- Bring the heat up to medium heat. Once the butter has melted you will want to keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn't burn. Occasionally stir it with a spoon.
- The butter will begin to form a layer of white, foamy bubbles. This means you are almost there. Soon the mixture will begin to turn golden brown and the milk solids will sink to the bottom of the pan. When this happens, the butter will take on a deep, nutty scent. It’s time to remove the pan from the burner.
- Strain the butter mixture through a fine sieve to remove cinnamon, clove, and milk solid remnants.
- Stir the fresh ground nutmeg into the butter mixture.
Place the squash, inner portion up along a platter. Spoon the brown butter mixture over top and sprinkle with additional nutmeg. I like to serve this dish family-style as a side to roasted or braised meats. It’s great alongside lamb or pork!