As I mentioned yesterday in my Thanksgiving post, I mostly kept my Thanksgiving menu pretty traditional and served all the same dishes as last year… except one. While I usually serve butternut squash soup as an appetizer to start the meal, soup is really just too filling to kick off a Thanksgiving dinner. Plus, I’d rather serve something that guests can munch on while chatting, rather than having to be seated with utensils in hand.
Fortunately, my mom shared with me this wonderful hors d’oeuvre recipe that she had picked up at her health food co-op. Since I couldn’t find it anywhere online so that I could link to it myself in my Thanksgiving spreadsheet, I decided to post it and share it with y’all. As noted on the recipe card my mom gave me, “this is a good dish to keep people happy while you finish preparing the meal.” The best part of this dish? It’s so simple that you can’t possibly screw it up, no matter how stressed you are about cooking the rest of the meal. Even if you cook it a little bit too long (as I did in the picture below), it still looks festive and tastes delicious – and while the goat cheese makes it a little high in fat compared to other macronutrients, the richness of the flavors is extremely satiating.
1 whole butternut squash
2.5 cups assorted dried fruits: cherries, cranberries, apricots, figs, raisins, ginger, etc. (Dice if large)
1/2 cup pecans, walnuts, and/or sliced almonds
2 cups port wine (or apple juice)
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
Pinch of dried cardamom
1 log of goat cheese
Crackers of your choice
1. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and then brush it with olive oil all over the inside until it is well-coated.
2. Roast butternut, cut side down at 425F on a sheet tray until soft – about 30-45 minutes.
3. Combine fruits, juice/wine, and cardamom, and bring to a boil. Simmer until fruits are nicely soft, approximately 15 minutes.
4. Add pomegranate molasses to the fruits, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add nuts (optional) and set aside.
5. When squash is done, let cool 10 minutes, then fill cavity with fruit mixture.
6. Serve on platter with crackers, goat cheese, and a dish of fruits on the side. Guests may slice/spread the cheese, then spoon on squash and fruits as a topper themselves.