Butternut Squash Harvest Hash

7 Nov

hashiconThis is a recipe that I’ve developed that is perfect for fall, but honestly I make it year-round. It’s super flexible and versatile. You can play around with all sorts of different ingredients, spices, or even herbs. You can even totally change it’s functionality by simply changing the size of the butternut squash chunks. Larger chunks make it more of a side dish, medium chunks make it more like a stuffing, and small chunks make it more like an actual “hash.”

It’s slightly different everytime I make it, but the recipe I share here today is the gist of the protocol I use. I don’t really give measurements because, honestly, I don’t even know them, and they will always change depending on the size of your squash or your personal taste. So please, go out and have fun with it!

WARNING: Your house WILL smell like you’re baking apple pie, which might leave some of your family disappointed (though hopefully, once they taste it, not for long).

hash1INGREDIENTS

  • Fresh butternut squash (you can also use frozen chunks of squash but they will come out a lot mushier. It will still taste good, it just won’t be a chunky hash like the pictures)
  • Apples (Galas are my favorite cooking apple)
  • Fresh sausage (I prefer sweeter sausage, like sweet Italian or a country breakfast style)
  • Nuts (such as walnuts or pecans)
  • Cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • Butter

Preheat oven to 350.

STEP 1: CHOP THE SQUASH, APPLES, AND BUTTER.hash2

  • Peel and chop the squash to chunks of your desired size. Chop the apple to chunks slightly smaller than the squash chunks. Scatter evenly in a baking dish. For this photo, I used half of the squash shown in the first photo and one apple. If you want a sweeter hash, add more apples.
  • Season liberally with kosher salt. Drench liberally with cinnamon, or to taste. Scatter the chunks of butter on top. For this photo, I used 3/4ths of a stick of butter.

STEP 2: BAKE AT 350 FOR 45-60 MINS

  • IMPORTANT: After the pan has been in the oven for 10-15 minutes, make sure you reach in or pull it out briefly to STIR it up. You want all the chunks coated with a thin layer of butter otherwise they will just dry out/burn. If necessary, add more butter. I also stir it a couple more times over the course of the baking.

STEP 3: BROWN THE SAUSAGEhash3

  • I often save this step for later when the hash is almost done baking. I brown the sausage separately on the stove instead of mixing it in to cook because in my experience it gives the sausage a much better carmelization and they form up into neat little chunks.

STEP 4: MIX SAUSAGE AND NUTS INTO THE HASHhash4

  • The hash is done once all the squash chunks pierce easily with a fork or spoon. At this point I mix in the sausage and a couple handfuls of crushed nuts. I then put the pan back in the oven for a little bit (5-10 mins) to let the flavors meld and the nuts warm through. I don’t put the nuts in earlier during the cooking process because I like my nuts warm (thatswhatshesaid) but I don’t like my nuts filled with oxidized fats from overcooking (thats…alsowhatshesaid?)

STEP 5: SERVE AS DESIRED

hash5

I used the results of this batch as a simple side-dish for some pulled pork. It does keep pretty well so I’ll often bring a little bit as part of my lunch at work as well.

The variations on this recipe are endless. My boyfriend, Chris, doesn’t care for the nuts, so I often leave them out. If I’m feeling lazy, or we’re already loaded up on meats for a meal, I’ll leave out the sausage as well. I’ve experimented with mixing in fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, and even substituting part of the butternut squash with regular orange yams. It’s always a big hit when I make it for family and guests, and looks like it requires more effort than it actually does. 😉

Let me know if you decide to include it amongst your harvest fare this year!

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2 Responses to “Butternut Squash Harvest Hash”

  1. Rely November 8, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    woooo !!! squash!!!!!!!! my boyfriend always makes fun of me for going to the farmers market and coming home with literally every variety of squash that I saw there. mixing with apples and sausage sounds amaaaaazing ! :p

    in other news, what is your go to recipe for pulled pork?

    • Colleen November 8, 2013 at 9:46 am #

      Haaaa, well, here you caught me; the pulled pork shown in this photo was actually pre-made pulled pork. >.< I get it from Costco, but it's actually pretty good since it doesn't have any sauce or anything, just pork, some brining salts and spices, and smoke flavoring. The packets are freezable so I usually keep a couple around as "quickie" meals. In this case, I was actually in the process of doing a couple other chores on top of making the hash for the blog and I needed to throw a complete lunch together and didn't have time for another meat from scratch. 😉

      That being said, I HAVE made pulled pork. I usually get a good bone-in shoulder/butt roast and throw it in the crockpot on low for as many hours as possible, minimum 8. I'm still working on good seasoning to go with such a protocol, though. This Alton Brown recipe recommends brining and gives some good suggestions for a spice rub mixture. He says to cook it in a smoker but if, like me, you don’t have one, then crock-potting plus adding some smoke flavoring should be fine. And don’t worry about the smoke flavor being some sort of un-Kosher (lol) additive; apparently most of them are made by bubbling natural wood smoke through water to infuse the flavor.

      I haven’t tried brining my pulled pork yet, but that’s probably the way to go since I find most mainstream pork pithy and flavorless on it’s own and I can’t afford getting the super awesome small-farm heritage breed pork cuts.

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