Roasted Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Chestnuts

Butternut Squash for Dummies. I’m almost tempted to use this title. This is again this time of the year when I start cooking new ingredients for the first time of my life. Errors and trials isn’t really a thing to me, but exploring unknown paths definitely is. And then when it comes to food or travel, I’m always in. Last weekend, we went to Auriol for a day and a night over at my cousin’s (it’s located between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence in the countryside). For those who know the famous French writer Marcel Pagnol, spending time in Provence region really makes one feel like being a character of one of Pagnol’s novels or autobiographical stories. Let me picture it for you. The norm there is to gently let time flow, chatting while sitting outside in the middle of the garrigue, eventually eating Sunday brunch on a bright sunny day – same as we did, in the great company of family members or friends. During summertime, the sound of singing crickets usually gives the final touch to the special local atmosphere, but in Autumn, crickets remain silent – or absent. My cousin told us about her plans for next week to go to Ardeche, another French department in the Auvergne region, in order to kick-in the season of chestnuts picking in the local forest. An information that made myself plan to purchase chestnuts at my local market once back, and set my brain on the “create a recipe” mode… 

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Chestnuts by cookingtrips.wordpress.com

When Fall / Autumn slowly comes in, my idea often is to feed myself and my husband with a variety of wholesome foods. We need those holy vitamins to go through Winter, and the necessary fibers to keep a nice and regular digestion. When the system is well cleansed, absorbing nutrients is better guaranteed and weight loss is easier too. Even though we love eating hearty dishes at home, I find this combination of Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Chestnuts quite interesting because just a small portion of it is pretty filling (thank you sweet potato and nuts), nevertheless it stays very healthy too. Indeed, while it balances the richness of the chestnuts and sweet potato, the butternut squash is rather poor in calories. It produces the effect of what is called “negative calories food”, you know, those great fruits and vegetables that need more calories to be digested than they actually bring in – such as fennel, apples, cabbage… and squash!

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Chestnuts - cookingtrips.wordpress.com

I had decided to try this recipe before Thanksgiving. In case of successful trial, I thought I could definitely add this to my dinner party menu. The look of the dish is simple, nevertheless I got inspired when reading my friend Sue’s blog, where she posted a photo of a similar bowl with sweet potato and pumpkin (not butternut), taken at the Chifley bar & grill in Canberra, Australia. Mine did taste really nice, and I really liked the nutty flavor and the sweet feel of the overall dish. I think it will actually do a great side on my Thanksgiving table, moreover I’m sure it will please my vegetarian friends as well, as it’s quite tasty, pretty filling, and moist enough so they won’t be missing the gravy made out of the meat cooking juices from the turkey.  This dish definitely is a winner! 

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Chestnuts by cookingtrips.wordpress.com

The only downside of it though is how time-consuming that is to cook and peel the chestnuts. I boiled them when I could have grilled them in a wok instead, which I think would have made them less soft thus easier to peel off, and easier to remain as chunks instead of crumbs for many of them (I will give the grilling version in the recipe below by the way). Beside that, my recipe was really easy and did not require any special cuisine knowledge nor cooking techniques. While the chestnusts were getting prepared, I coated the other ingredients in a simple “marinade” then baked them in the oven for almost an hour. When done, I shortly roasted the veggies and the chestnuts altogether in a pan, in order to finalize the nice coloration and caramelization of the dish. And voilà, it was just ready to be served! You will tell me about it, because I do hope some of you will use for Thanksgiving my delicious recipe of Roasted Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Chestnuts!

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato and Chestnuts - cookingtrips.wordpress.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole Sweet Potato
  • 1/2 organic Butternut Squash
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • Chestnuts
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of ground ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start with the chestnuts. Immerse them in cold water for a few minutes. The ones that remain at the bottom are good, the ones that come back up to the surface probably are rotten, so you can discard them already.
  2. Onto the good ones then. With the tip of a sharp knife, incise them both ways to pierce and draw a cross.
  3. Heat a wok or a large pan over the flame, and start grilling the chestnuts by rolling them back and forth and all around. Your kitchen is gonna get smoky, but the shells need to grill to the point they almost burn.
  4. When done, take the chestnuts out of the wok/pan, and let them cool off a bit.
  5. Preheat the oven at 190 degrees C.
  6. Line the oven baking tray with parchment paper.
  7. Roughly dice the sweet potato and butternut squash (they don’t have to look like cubes, a more rustic shape is preferred). Transfer to a large salad bowl.
  8. Mince the garlic and add to the veggies.
  9. Add to the bowl the ginger, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stir well to combine.
  10. Spread the vegetables over the baking tray and bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  11. Back to the chestnuts. Peel them all, taking care of peeling off both brown layers: the shell and the skin. The chestnuts will likely break into chunks and/or crumbs while being peeled, but if not then you can decide what size will be better.
  12. When the sweet potato and butternut squash are done, take them out of the oven.
  13. Heat a pan, do not add anything in it, and once it’s hot directly transfer the vegetables and the chestnuts for a final roast until it starts caramelizing.
  14. Serve warm and enjoy!! Or keep for later, as this dish can totally handle to be re-heated the next day.

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2017 All Rights Reserved. 

3 comments

  1. I just love how my visit to Chifley’s Bar and Grill gave you inspiration to cook this wonderful dish – I would love this as a nice comfy meal after a day at work and sitting at home either watching TV or just eating at the table (you with Jerome of course). YAY…lovely post Sophie – you always write so nicely and give a great story.

    Liked by 1 person

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