Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thanksgiving Mash-up Recipe

I spent the summer getting and eating the lovely greens of the garden and now is the time when we start seeing the robust root vegetables and squash. As the weather cools, I'm reminded of the Thanksgiving dinners my mom put together for us as kids. One of the most memorable dishes she makes is a butternut squash mash. To this day, Thanksgiving dinners aren't quite complete without it and this is the first year I'm having to do these types of things on my own. I thought to share the recipe!

These are not exact measurements and it's more about putting together proportions of the ingredients you enjoy.

  1. 1 small/medium butternut squash
  2. 4-6 carrots
  3. 5-7 small red potatoes (or other potato)
  4. 1 white small/medium onion
  5. 1-2 cloves of garlic
  6. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  7. 150g cheddar cheese
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Black pepper to taste
  10. Granulated garlic powder (1/2 tsp or to taste)
  11. Ginger powder (1/4 tsp or to taste)
  12. Nutmeg (1/4 tsp or to taste)
Haul from the farmers' market
1. Gather the fresh ingredients and start cleaning them of dirt and blemishes/eyes/etc and peeling the carrots and potatoes. Note: I chose not to peel the potatoes unless there is a blemish or eye so I could keep the fibre-y bits. Keep in mind that often the best nutrients are found in or just beneath the skins so you won't want to let those go to waste (and it's good for your colon)! You'll also need a large (~6 quart) crockpot, water and your stove.

Cutting the squash can be precarious so be careful!
2. The tricky part will be to get your butternut squash peeled, opened and cleaned. Tip: I laid it on its side with the 'bulb' in my weaker hand and sliced off the stem. Then I inserted the tip of the knife into the columnar portion of the squash, lengthwise, and pushed the knife down towards the top. Once the cut is made (doesn't have to be all the way through), I pull the knife out and stand the squash upright and then take the knife and drop it into the cut and bring the knife right down to the 'bulb' and am able to slide it right open. From there, the peeler has a "grip" where I cut the stem off and I peel from top down.

Carrots, garlic, potatoes and onion
3. Then I cut everything into smaller pieces for quicker cooking and easier mashing. Note that carrots generally take the longest to cook so I cut smaller pieces and the onion cooks the fastest. At this time, I have not yet cut the butternut squash because that cooks the fastest.
Boiling phase 1

4. Add the ingredients to the crockpot and add water just until it starts covering the ingredients. Cover the crockpot and turn it on high heat to get boiling.

During this time, get the butternut squash ready by cutting it into smaller pieces to be cooked.

Cook on medium-high for ~10-15 minutes or until you can push a fork into the potato and carrot with resistance.

5. Add the butternut squash pieces and add some more water to the point where the water is halfway up the squash layer.

6. Boil for about 10-15 minutes more or until the fork easily slides into the butternut squash. At this point, you're ready to drain the pot and you can either chose to keep the broth for something else (it's great to drink if you've got a cold as its full of vitamin C and other water soluble vitamins/minerals) or dump it.

7. Grab your fork or potato masher and add in the butter and cheese. Slice the cheese into pieces so for easier melting. Mash vigourously. Include the salt, pepper and other spices as you are tiring out and mix well. Tip: if you aren't sure about the spices, take a small portion out into a bowl and play with the proportions there to see what you like. My proportions are for a full pot based on me fiddling around with a recent batch but your tastes and portions will be different than mine.

I got so excited to taste and run out the door with it (I was taking it to a pot-luck), I didn't get an image but the image doesn't do much justice to how it tastes so nothing lost there. But if you're looking to get some colour into your diet and mix things up for Thanksgiving, check this out and make it in place of your mashed potatoes!

Let me know if you get a chance to include it in your Thanksgiving menu this year and how you enjoyed it!


  1. I can speak from experience - this tastes yummy!

    1. thanks! i can't wait to make more... or at least until i'm sick of it :P