Acorn Squash Dip

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Of late, my schedule has been erratic for one lovely reason. A grand daughter. So I’m re-posting from last fall – one of my favorite autumnal dips.

Forget chicken wings and nachos! This is what you want to feast on during a football game! Polish sausage dipped into a curried acorn squash dip!!!

If curry scares you, don’t worry, because there are so many ways to flavor this dip. In fact, if you don’t have an acorn squash, you can always use a can of pumpkin or sweet potato!

So here’s my recipe for this dip:

Curried Acorn Squash Dip

1 acorn squash, halved, cleaned of seeds, or a small butternut squash
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/2 onion, very finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon or so curry powder, or 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon

First of all, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the acorn squash halves in a pan filled with a little water. Bake them uncovered for at least one hour; poke them to make sure they’re cooked through.

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Set them aside to cool. Once they’re cool, remove the squash from the peel and coarsely chop it.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion and cook over fairly low heat until it’s practically translucent. Add the garlic and stir it in for a few seconds. Then add the squash. Beat it down with your wooden spoon to mix with the onion and garlic, and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. We don’t want “wet” squash.

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Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and warm it up if necessary. Place a ricer over the bowl with the cream cheese, and rice the squash mixture using the disc with fairly small holes.

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When you’re done, whisk the cream cheese and squash together. Add the salt and curry powder. Taste and check for seasoning.

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The dip is delicious served with pieces of Polska Kielbasa, or with blue corn chips. Serve the dip warm.

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note: Like I said, this dip is also good made with pumpkin puree – add a pinch of allspice to it if you prefer it over the curry powder. If you prefer, keep the dip plain with salt and pepper, or add a little dried thyme to taste. Also, you could substitute a creamy goat cheese in this dip. And for my last suggestion, use my white bean dip recipe for a combination white beans and pumpkin dip. Another deliciously easy fall dip!

Another White Bean Dip!

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Last year, for the first in my whole life, I started seeing pumpkin hummus recipes all over the place. And it kind of made me mad. Because why hadn’t I thought of this?

I love pumpkin. And I thought I’d made just about everything possible with pumpkin. When my kids were young I was very adept at sneaking pumpkin into so many different kinds of dishes, because to me, it was just another vegetable that would boost the nutritional value of whatever I was “hiding” it in, whether is was soups or stews or pancakes or oatmeal. Sometimes things got a little orange, but kids aren’t as scared of orange as they are green.

But even now, with kids grown and gone, I still use a lot of canned pumpkin, but I never thought about adding it to hummus! Why not?

I’ve presented white bean dips on my blog before, because I honestly prefer them to hummus. I love a good hummus, with the lemon and tahini additions. But with white bean dip, there’s just so much more that you can do. My favorite ways are a spicy version using cumin, coriander, and cayenne, that was actually published in Gourmet magazine, and an herby way I make my white bean dip in the summer, using fresh rosemary. Those seem to be the most popular variations for which I get requests from my family. But now I’m going to have to add another to that list. Pumpkin White Bean Dip.

Oh, this might not be a popular statement, but I also prefer white beans over garbanzos. They process smoother, never pasty or dry.

What I use for my white bean dips are canned white beans. I typically buy great Northern beans, but you can opt for the more expensive canellini beans just as well. The only rule is that they must be well rinsed and drained before using. And a good olive oil is also a must.

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And for today’s dip, the inclusion of pumpkin, except in this case, since it’s January, I’m actually using butternut squash. Same difference. They’re both beautiful, orange winter squashes. I still have some canned pumpkin in my pantry, and I’m pretty sure it would work well. But I wanted to roast the butternut squash first for some extra flavor. It just takes a little more planning.

So here’s what I did.

White Bean Dip made with Butternut Squash

A chunk of peeled butternut squash, about 10 ounces
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
1 – 15 ounce can of white beans, rinsed and well-drained

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2 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
More olive oil
Pita chips for serving

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

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Place the butternut squash in some foil. I actually used 4 thick slices from the non-seedy part of the squash. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place the foil packet in the oven for a couple of hours. There should be some caramelization on the squash. I could have roasted it a simply in an open dish, but I didn’t want the squash to dry out. When you’re done it should look about like this.

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Let the squash cool, then place it in the food processor jar. Add the drained beans, garlic, cumin, and salt.

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Process until smooth, adding a little olive oil at a time. White bean dip should be soft and smooth, but not runny. It also shouldn’t be pasty thick. That’s why I always pour in oil slowly. You can’t overprocess the dip; if anything, it will just get smoother. So take your time doing it. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the dip out into a serving bowl.

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It’s a really good dip with pita crisps.
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For a little color, I sprinkled some paprika on the top, but this is completely optional. Enjoy!

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Note: This dip can be doubled or tripled. I always serve white bean dips within a couple hours of making them.

verdict: Like I said above in the post, this will be one of the top favorite requested dips in my house, as soon as everyone has tried it. I think the roasted butternut squash made a significant difference, but I’ll try it once with canned pumpkin or canned sweet potatoes just to see.