Make a grand entrance with my Whole Roasted Kabocha Squash with Chipotle Butter and ‘carve’ it right at the table — then get ready for rave reviews. This easy fall and holiday side dish will wow everybody!
There’s something epic about roasting a whole squash and then slicing giant wedges out of it with a carving knife. After an hour in the oven it slices like buttah, and a gorgeous plume of steam bursts forth as the wedges fall away. A few passes with a spoon to remove the seeds, a swipe of freshly made spicy chipotle butter, and you’ve got a unique and healthy side dish. The combination of spicy chipotle chili and creamy sweet squash really appeals to me (I’ve used it before in my Baked Pumpkin Chipotle Fries) and I think you’re going to love it.
TIP: If you’re not into spicy, think about pairing this squash with my Maple Cream, a spread made by simply whipping maple syrup into a creamy ‘butter’.
Winter squash, especially the more exotic varieties, have always intimidated me. They can be IMPOSSIBLE to cut — I’ve had to resort to using a hammer to help me pound my knife though those thick rinds in the past., and I’ve actually broken good knives that way. This whole-roasting technique is the best solution to all that, and a lot of fun, too. A standard 2-3 pound squash takes only an hour in a 4ooF oven, I put it on a baking sheet and roast until a sharp paring knife pierces the skin easily. If you’ve avoided exotic winter squash in the past because of that impenetrable outer armor, this is your answer.
TIP: The rind of the kabocha will soften as the squash cooks, and is completely edible. The seeds are wonderful roasted, too, just like pumpkin seeds, so don’t toss them!
There are so many extraordinary squashes in the stores and farmers markets right now, don’t get stuck buying the same familiar faces — branch out and try something new. Kabocha is a Japanese winter squash, and you might have had it as part of a tempura mix in a Japanese restaurant. The flesh is super creamy and sweet, not watery like some varieties. In fact is has a slightly fluffy texture that can be compared to roasted chestnuts. Kabocha is hands down my new favorite winter squash.
TIP: Choose squash that feels heavy for its size, and store kabocha in a cool dry place for up to a month.
Chipotle butter is a spicy compound butter (a butter that’s been mixed with other flavoring ingredients) that will go with so many things. Once you taste it you’re going to want to put it on your cornbread, your baked potato, your steak…and you’ll dream about melting it all over next year’s corn on the cob. Did I say cornbread? You NEED this on your cornbread, folks. Like most everything here at tvfgi, it’s simple to do, just mash a stick of butter with a tablespoon of chipotle chili powder, that’s the spicy one. The flavor and color of your butter will deepen with time as the chipotle chili powder ‘blooms’.
TIP: Plain chili powder is a spice blend, much like curry powder; it’s a mix of chili, salt, and other spices. Chipotle powder, on the other hand, contains only ground chipotle peppers, and is much smokier and spicier. Look for it in the spice aisle in larger grocery stores.
TIP: Whether you mix your spicy butter by hand or in the food processor, make sure the butter is at room temperature to begin with, or it will be difficult to get everything smoothly combined. Once combined you can spoon it into a little jar, or roll it into a log with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator to firm up.
I was able to reheat the fat wedges of squash in the microwave for several nights, so even if you’re only cooking for one or two, definitely try this.
- 1 kabocha squash (generally 3 -4 pounds)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp chipotle powder
- pinch salt (if you use unsalted butter)
- Set oven to 400F
- Set squash on a baking sheet and use a small sharp knife to pierce the top a few times.
- Bake for an hour, or until a sharp knife pierces the flesh easily.
- Slice wedges out of the squash and remove the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Serve hot with Chipotle Butter.
- To make the chipotle butter, mix the butter with the chili powder and blend until everything is completed mixed. If you used unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to taste. Put the butter in a small jar and refrigerate until needed.
- If your squash is larger or smaller, adjust the cooking time accordingly. Check with the tip of a sharp knife to see if the flesh is tender.
I’m telling you…whole roasted kabocha squash with chipotle butter…it’s out of this world.