Roasted Acorn Squash with Medjool Dates and Toasted Almonds

Susan from Food Blogga

Makes 4 servings.

1 medium acorn squash or other winter squash (about two cups)
2 tsp butter
1 shallot, chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
The juice of ½ small lemon (about 1 tsp)
A little bit of lemon zest
A pinch of ground cinnamon
5-6 Medjool dates,* coarsely chopped
¼ cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1-2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Some salt and pepper, to taste

To toast the almonds, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly golden and aromatic.

Bump up the heat in the oven to 375 degrees. Roast the squash face side down for 35-45 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven, and let cool. Scoop out the cooked flesh, and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, sauté shallots in butter until slightly caramelized. Add brown sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Add the cooked squash, and mix well by hand. (You can puree it at this point if you like, but I prefer a lumpy texture). Stir in the dates, and season well with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped almonds and fresh parsley. Garnish with more almonds and parsley before serving.

*TIP: Medjool dates are sweeter than most varieties, and have a soft, creamy texture and deep amber-brown color. I usually buy them at the farmers’ market, but Trader Joe’s and all major markets sell them. If you can’t find them, then just substitute a different variety.