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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Winter Squash Picadillo Bake

I made picadillo for the first time about a year ago, and we really liked it, but it never worked its way back into the regular menu. I'm not sure why, because it's really delicious. We had most of the ingredients on hand for it, so I was planning to make it, but I wanted to switch it up a bit. I was trying to think of a way to make it even more unique than it already was. 

We had one final butternut squash left over from the fall garden, and it really needed to be used up. My initial thought was to cube it and incorporate it into the "stew", but then I started thinking about making this like a shepherds pie. The result was really amazing ! The only other real change I made from the original recipe was substituting dried apricots for raisins...I know, I know. I have a thing about cooked raisins, I just don't like the texture. This way, I still got the sweetness, but not the odd texture. Now I know this will be made more frequently at our house ! 

Winter Squash Picadillo Bake 
For the picadillo:
1/4 pound spicy chorizo 
6 cloves garlic, finely diced 
2 cups yellow onion, diced 
1 large green onion, diced 
2 pounds ground bison, venison or beef 
2 pints diced tomatoes with green chiles 
2 tablespoons dried oregano 
2 tablespoons cumin 
1 tablespoon chili powder 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves 
1/2 cup diced dried apricots 
1/2 cup small green olives 

In a large dutch oven, brown chorizo over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in green pepper, and cook until pepper is soft. Crumble in the ground meat, stir and cook until meat is browned. Add tomatoes and spices, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and stir in apricots and olives. 

While picadillo is cooking, prepare the butternut squash. 
For the squash: 
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds) 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 stick of butter 
1/2 teaspoon cumin 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon cloves 
Preheat oven to 400. Peel and dice the squash, and toss in olive oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Mash the squash together with the butter and spices and set aside. 

To assemble, spray a 9 by 13 pan with non-stick spray, and pour in the picadillo. Spread the squash mixture on top, and place in oven. Bake 30-35 minutes until squash begins to brown. Remove from oven, and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. 

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