I know Thanksgiving recipes are SO last Thursday, but since I didn't get a chance to finish my T-Day recipe blast, I'm just going to keep sharing them now and you can try them for Christmas or Hannukah...or next Thanksgiving...or next Tuesday... ;)
Before starting SCD, I used to make the most amazing sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving....every year. And every year, people would ask me for the recipe. Even people who don't normally like sweet potatoes loved this casserole. And why wouldn't they?? It was full of cream and butter and sugar...naturally, I had to find a way to adapt it for SCD. Welcome to the world Kabocha Squash "Sweet Faux-tato Casserole!"
My original plan was to sub butternut squash for the sweet potatoes, until I tried kabocha squash for the first time and realized that it's taste and texture was nearly identical to a sweet potato. I decided to give it a whirl in this dish and it turned out fantastic. It's similar to a pumpkin, but slightly sweeter. If you can't find kobucha squash, a sugar pumpkin or butternut squash would work well too.
I subbed coconut milk for the cream and honey for the sugar and then came up with a totally new topping completely devoid of brown sugar, yet still managing to take on that wonderful caramelized flavor. The best part...it doens't taste like honey or coconut...a rare feat for SCD sweets!!
1 large kabocha squash (approx. 5-5.5 lbs.), roasted
3/4 - 1 c. honey (depending how sweet you want it)
1 14 oz. can light coconut milk
1 c. salty butter, cubed
4 eggs, beaten
2 T. vanilla
12 medjool dates, pitted
8 oz. pecans
1/4 c. coconut oil, melted
And yes, that giant vodka bottle in the back of my ingredients picture is my vanilla extract...go big or go home, baby! We don't mess around in this house!! It's actually sooo easy to make your own vanilla extract...just buy a big bottle of cheap vodka and cram a handful of good quality vanilla beans into it. (Slice them lengthwise before you drop them in for maximum vanilla bean flavor.) Then let the bottle sit in a cabinet and forget about it for a few months...when you come back, you'll have a very impressive bottle of homemade vanilla. (FYI, I do usually class things up a bit and decant it to a smaller bottle, but I thought this would be more fun to show you.)
In the interest of simplicity, such as it is with SCD, this recipe utilizes a simply roasted squash. The easiest way to roast a squash is to cut it in half (Ha ha...like that's easy!), scoop out the seeds, place the halves cut sides down on a parchment lined baking sheet, brush with a little olive oil and roast at 400 degrees until it is soft...anywhere between 30-50 minutes depending on the size of the squash. You can go do something else while you're waiting for it. When the squash is soft, let it cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh and proceed with the recipe. Alternatively, you could peel and cube the squash, then roast it for a deeper, caramelized flavor, but it's a lot of work to peel and cube a squash, so I prefer the lazy roaster way. ;)
Important to note...cutting a squash in half is hardly what I would call easy or simple. In fact, I frequently feel like a homicidal maniac when I'm stabbing and fighting with a winter squash...be careful!
Once you have wrestled with and roasted your squash, combine the warm squash, honey, coconut milk, egg, butter and vanilla in a large bowl. Break up gently with a wooden spoon and mix...do not overly mash...leave some chunks. This will be very liquidy...don't panic. Pour mixture into a shallow 4-quart baking dish. (You can also split it into two smaller baking dishes if you need to.)
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes to firm up slightly. While baking, make the nut topping.
To make the topping, pulse dates and pecans in food processor until they become a coarse crumb. Drizzle in melted coconut oil to coat.
Take casserole out of oven, gently spread nut topping over the surface of the casserole. Return to oven and bake uncovered for another 12-15 minutes.
Remove when nuts start to brown and casserole is set. Let the casserole rest a bit before serving to firm up even more.
That's all there is to it. The topping comes out with a nice, caramelized toasty chew from the dates and the whole thing is just d'lish. This casserole can be made ahead and baked at the last minute or baked and re-heated. It also makes an amazing breakfast dish the next day paired with eggs and bacon...oh yum!
I hope you like this recipe and would love to hear about your favorite SCD holiday foods. I'd also love to know how it turns out if you make this casserole. Feel free to share your comments below or share pics on my Facebook page or tag them with #FightingFlare on Instagram or Twitter. Be sure to check out my Broccoli Cheese Casserole and check back soon for my Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower, Cranberry Sauce and Turkey with Roasted Onion Gravy. XOXO, Cindi