Fall is my favorite time of the year by far.
It's the most exciting time for the blog with the great apple harvest, pumpkins, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.
One sign of the fall season is when hard squash begin to show up in stores and farm markets. While typically I wait for fall to official begin to start my squash cooking, I couldn't resist picking up the first locally grown Delicata squash I could find. These are my wife's favorite squash and with good reason. They have similarities to a sweet potato, which is why sometimes you will find them called sweet potato squash. They are small and the outer size is thin enough to eat without peeling. You can't go wrong with Delicata.
My in-laws are visiting our house this week. My mother-in-law is not a big squash eater. She did say however that she likes sweet potatoes as long as they are smothered with brown sugar and butter. That got me thinking, why not try that with the Delicata. One concern I had about this dish is it being overly sweet. The squash is pretty sweet itself. What could I do to cut the sweetness. A lot of time people use something acidic like lemon or lime juice that didn't seem right in this occasion. Then it hit me. What it needs is a little heat, say from a Hatch Chile. I have a bag of Hatch chiles that I received from Frieda's Produce in my freezer already roasted - ready to be used in any dish.
I didn't just want to chop up the chile and throw it on the squash. Mixing it with the butter seems like a winner. I just took about a half of a Hatch threw it in my food processor with a stick of butter and voila - Hatch Chile Butter, which I can also use now in other dishes.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds. The seeds can be roasted later.
- Place the squash cut side up on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper
- Season with kosher salt and place into the oven for 20 minutes or until it can be pierced with a fork.
To make the butter
- Place half a Hatch chile, seeds removed into a food processor with 1 stick of butter cut into cubes. Process until smooth. You won't need all the butter, you can save it in the fridge or wrapped tightly in the freezer.
To finish the squash
- Remove from the oven. Raise temperature to 450 degrees.
- Brush on the Hatch Chile butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
- Return to the oven for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has melted and caramelized. Keep a careful eye on it so that you don't burn the sugar.