Roasted Butternut with Dried Plums and Walnuts

Recipe by JeanMarie Brownson
Serves 6

When I make this in advance, I add the prunes and walnuts after I’ve reheated the squash in a hot oven. I also love to add 1/4 teaspoon hot curry powder to the squash along with the oil, sugar, salt and pepper. Dried apricots can substitute for the dried plums, or use a combination of the two for a real treat. Turban, Hubbard and sugar pumpkin can be substituted for the butternut.

1 medium-size butternut squash, about 2 pounds
1 large sweet onion, halved, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil (suitable for high-heat)
2 generous tablespoons dark brown sugar (or pure maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup pitted whole dried plums (prunes)
¾ cup large walnut pieces
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut the butternut in half. Working carefully, peel the squash with a sharp paring knife. Cut in half and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes.

2. Mix squash cubes, onion wedges, oil and sugar in a large bowl to thoroughly coat the squash with the oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and fresh pepper.

3. Arrange the squash mixture in a single layer on a well-oiled jellyroll pan or low-sided baking pan. Bake, stirring often, until fork-tender and a little golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, use a scissors to cut dried plums into quarters. Soak in very hot water for a few minutes to soften. Toast walnut pieces on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes.

5. To serve, mix the cooked squash with prunes and walnuts in a large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

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