The Recipe: My favorite Thanksgiving side dish for many years but it's so good, the color is so beautiful, I really should make it more often. Plus? It's so easy to make, just roasted butternut squash, puréed until smooth with gently cooked onion, a few spices and a little cream. That topping? Buttery toasted pumpkin seeds! It's so easy to make and such a welcome savory addition to the Thanksgiving table where "sweet" and "rich" seem to preside.
The Conversation: The lessons of "Freedom from Want," the iconic Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving tableau.
"My family loved this savory dish ..." ~ Carrie
"This is great, I've been making it for a few years now ..." ~ Elisia
In a world of polarity, it’s easy to discern what’s "truth" and what’s "spin". Truth? That's the stock of judgments held by folks whose ardent beliefs match our own. Spin? That's the malicious, manipulative deception spewed by the "other" guys.
Yet consider these four titles. Freedom from Fear, Freedom from Want. Freedom to Worship, Freedom of Speech.
Truth or Spin? They’re four paintings by artist Norman Rockwell, canvases inspired by the world vision of FDR, a wartime president.
Truth or Spin? Patriotic punditry or perverse propaganda? Or in gentler, less polarizing prose, perhaps only outmoded Americana?
The Thanksgiving tableau in Freedom from Want is familiar yet enigmatic. Is that three (or four?) generations gathered round? And what of the Sunday clothes and Mother’s good dishes?
Truth or Spin? It’s still hard to know for sure, even if the outcome of that war, what we call World War II, two and even three generations past, is largely known.
So let us give simple thanks, then, for what we do know today, the words we have right, and privilege, to speak.
Call it truth. Call it spin. But do call it Freedom.
And do thank God.
Time-to-table: 65 minutes
Makes 3 cups
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 cups (675g) roasted winter squash
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup half ‘n’ half
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), for garnish
Heat the oven to 375F/190C.
SAUTÉ ONIONS Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and slowly soften, about 10 minutes.
MIX SQUASH Meanwhile, purée the squash with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so after each addition. Add the onion and remaining ingredients (except the pumpkin seeds) and combine well.
TOAST PUMPKIN SEEDS Add the pumpkin seeds to the hot, still buttery skillet and toast for 2 – 3 minutes on low heat. Pay close attention, pumpkin seeds turn fast!
BAKE Turn the squash mixture into a well-greased pie plate or quiche pan, it'll be about an inch thick. Smooth the top and scatter the pumpkin seeds over top. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
LEFTOVERS This Squash Puff reheats beautifully, wonderful to have leftover after Thanksgiving. One year, we formed the leftovers into patties, dusted them with flour and then fried 'em up for breakfast. Nice!
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Make the Squash Puff the day before serving, cover and refrigerate. Toast the Pumpkin Seeds too but refrigerate separately. It's best to bring the Squash Puff back to room temperature before going into the oven, at Thanksgiving, my cue is to get it (and other premade casseroles) out when the turkey goes into the oven. But if it's put in the oven cold from the refrigerator, no problem, just allow at least an hour to cook clear through.
DOUBLING THE RECIPE For small dinners, I bake this in a shallow quiche pan that holds four cups, that means it's about an inch thick. But at Thanksgiving, I usually double the recipe to serve our crew of about twenty and bake it in a two-quart Corning baking dish. That means the casserole is quite a bit thicker than one inch! So I allow extra time for bringing it to room temperature and for baking, about double for each.
The Familiar Tableau:
Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell
Hmmm ... This Squash "Puff" Isn't Really "Puffy"
I inherited this recipe from my Canadian family – wow, way back in the 1980s, that's how long I've been making it! I inherited the name too. But please know, "puff" is a bit of a misnomer, this definitely is not a poofy souflé. It's not heavy but it's not light and airy either. The next time I make it, I think I'll try giving it a little poof, another egg and double the half & half. I'll report back!
More Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
from Kitchen Parade
~ Butternut Mac 'n' Cheese ~
~ World's Best Green Bean Casserole ~
~ Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar ~
~ Savory Sweet Potato Casserole ~
~ Cauliflower Cream ~
~ more more favorite Thanksgiving vegetable recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
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