Thursday, November 28, 2019

Butternut Tenderloin for Thanksgiving

It's something of a challenge to come up with a festive meal for Thanksgiving when you are limited to soft foods. My oral surgery of last week came with instructions to take in only liquids the first few days and then soft, mushy foods to finish out the week. A friend hoped that my mashed potato milkshake was delicious but I actually had a nice meal that included mashed potatoes and jellied cranberry sauce. The star of the plate was from a recipe that one of my sisters sent me...Butternut Squash Tenderloin. Now we all know that squash don't have loins, so why that moniker? It's because the neck of the squash, if cooked and peeled, has the shape of a tenderloin and if you season it, brown it and roast it so that the outside has a nice seasoned and browned crust, it can be sliced like a tenderloin of meat.

It was really delicious and filling, but there was no getting away from the fact that it was butternut squash. If you enjoy squash like I do, that's a good thing. It went well with the sides on the plate and was a lovely deep golden color. Sweetie had some too and liked it (although he had steak and salad with it). Tomorrow the rest of the squash will morph into butternut squash soup.

We also had a delightful dessert...tipsy parson...but I'll post about that later.

To make the 'tenderloin', choose a butternut squash with a long neck part. Mine was almost all neck, with very little in the small rounded bottom part but seeds. Since that neck part is dense, it took a little longer for the initial baking. I put the whole squash in the fridge overnight Wednesday night and finished the dish about forty-five minutes before dinner time on Thursday. The skin was easy to remove, the seasonings were easy, too, and it browned fairly quickly in my cast iron skillet. I roasted it for 30 minutes, which heated it through just right and allowed the crust/skin with the seasonings to brown a bit more.
Here is the neck peeled and ready to season, with the top inch and lower seedy part in the background.

The originator of the recipe served their squash with peas on the side and what looked like a mushroom gravy. I just dressed my slices with some plain yogurt and that worked well. Would have done the mushroom thing, but I made mushroom gravy last night for some pasts, so didn't want it again.

Do give this recipe a try if you enjoy butternut squash. You'll be glad you did.

Butternut Squash Tenderloin
by 100% Esselstyn Nutrition Forum

A whole butternut squash (preferably with a long neck), weights vary
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon ground sage
1 tablespoon onion powder (I omitted this as I had none)
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, ground (I used less)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (I used cayenne pepper for some pep)

Preheat over to 200 degrees c/180 degrees c fan (or 400 degrees F/350 degrees F convection)

Place the whole squash, skin and all, on a baking sheet. Roast until the squash is 95% cooked (approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on size). (I used foil under my squash on the baking sheet.)

Check the squash is cooked by inserting a skewer about three inches from the stem. When it can penetrate in and out through the width easily, it is done.

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 30-45 minutes, to finish carry over cooking. (Doing this the day before saves time.)

With a sharp knife, cut off the top and tail of the squash, including the bottom section wher the seeds are. you want to leave the long neck (tenderloin) whole for roasting.

Stand the squash on one end and carefully peel/cut away the skin.

Place the peeled squash in a large bowl or baking sheet, then evenly apply the seasonings to the entire squash.

Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add water carefully and add the squash and pan fry, turning to ensure that all sides are browned.

In the same pan (or transfer to a baking sheet) roast for an additional 20 minutes. Serve with green veggies for contrast.

Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple minutes before planting, slicing and enjoying.

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