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Harissa-Stewed Butternut Squash
This is our all-time most requested recipe and it's also one of our simplest – a hybrid Spanish/Southern casserole. Note that I didn't say easy, I said simple. Yes, you have to peel all of the butternut squash, deseed, and dice it. No, you can't cook it and then peel it.
1 medium butternut squash, 2 to 3 lbs
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, julienned
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons rose petal harissa, or more to taste
1.5 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup fresh sheep cheese or fromage blanc
1. Slice the squash in half, peel it, scoop out the seeds and chop it into a 1/2 inch dice.
2. Put 2 large sauté pans over medium-high heat and put 2 tablespoons of butter into each. Get the butter just to the beginning of browning.
3. Split the squash between the 2 pans, and season each pan with salt and pepper. Let the squash cook, untouched, for 3 minutes. The squash's caramelization in the hot sauté pan is super important to the final flavor. You want it almost charred and just slightly burnt.
4. After 3 minutes – once it's nicely browned – spoon the squash into one pan, discarding the butter that remains in the emptied pan.
5. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the emptied pan and add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring regularly, until they get a bit of color, about 1 or 2 minutes.
6. Spoon the squash back into the onion/garlic pan, leaving a lot of the butter behind.
7. Add the rose petal harissa and heavy cream and stir to incorporate. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
8. Make sure that the squash is cooked through, the sauce is a good consistency, and the seasoning is to your liking, and remove it from the heat. NOTE: At this point you can put the recipe on hold, refrigerate it, and finish it the next day.
9. Divide the squash mix into 2 cazuelas or other shallow baking dishes.
10. Take half the fresh sheep cheese and put 3 evenly placed scoops on the top of one dish. Do the same for the other dish.
11. Broil the squash for 3 or 4 minutes or until the cheese is nicely browned. Serve right away.