When I first got delicata squash in our vegetable box a couple years ago I wasn’t that sure what to do with it. For whatever reason, I had never come across that variety when I lived in the UK. It looked pretty and I liked the fact that you didn’t need to peel it before cooking as the skin is relatively thin, but I didn’t find a whole lot of recipes that inspired me on how to use it. I tried one where the squash was stuffed – which seemed like a good idea given the shape – but the filling was too heavy and the squash somehow didn’t have enough flavor. However I did find a great roast delicata squash and chicken recipe, which we have made a few times as we really enjoy it, and it inspired this meal as well.
The flavor of the roast delicata squash is really enhanced by maple syrup and I wanted to combine it with other fall-like flavors as well as getting a balance of sweet and savory. I guess I was kind of thinking about a deconstructed stuffing mixture. Whatever was going through my mind, it certainly worked as the end result was delicious. Even better, it uses just one pan in the oven and is really easy to make.
All you need to do is chop up the vegetables, melt the butter and maple syrup together and toss the vegetables in it, then season the ground turkey and dot it on top. Roast the whole lot up and serve. One of the nice bits for me at the moment is the vegetables can be chopped a bit ahead of time, then there’s only a little to do before it goes in the oven and then nothing more until you take it out. A couple short bursts of things to do is definitely helpful with a newborn! While there’s a butter-maple glaze it’s not exactly all that much and the rest of the dish is nice and healthy so you can happily eat your way through all the delicious different textures and flavors knowing you are enjoying a pretty well balanced meal.
The pecan nuts and grapes are so tasty being roasted with the maple-butter mixture and compliment the vegetables and turkey really well. If you don’t like or don’t eat turkey, you could easily substitute chicken (chunks of thigh would work) or pork (ground or chunks eg of tenderloin) – just not anything too fatty as you won’t get as much of the caramelization on the vegetables nor too lean it dries out. That said, the ground turkey is on the verge of getting a little dry and if you have more time, and want even more maple-flavor, I’d suggest making up the maple turkey burger mixture I shared a little while back and putting this over the top in the same way as the plain turkey. You could also make it meatless and just increase the amount of everything else (or serve less people).
This roast delicata squash dish is so easy and tasty. There’s lots of great textures and flavors, all deliciously warming and perfect for fall. We all devoured it pretty quickly last night and I now have another great way to use delicata squash next time it appears in our box (or I might have to buy another sooner). Oh, and one last thing – don’t forget to scrape out all the yummy maple stickiness at the bottom of the pan; it’s a delicious topping to an already tasty meal.
- 1 delicata squash (approx ¾-1lb/340-450g)
- 2-3 carrots (approx 4oz/110g)
- ½ large or 1 small onion
- 7oz/200g grapes
- 2oz/55g pecan nuts (halves or pieces)
- 3tbsp maple syrup
- 3tbsp/45g butter
- ¼tsp ground ginger
- 1lb/450g ground turkey/turkey mince
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Slice the ends off the delicata squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard then slice each half in approx ¼in/5mm slices.
- Scrape or peel the carrots and cut in half lengthwise then into chunks, around 1½-2in/4-5cm long. Peel and roughly dice the onion.
- Place the squash, carrot, onion, grapes and pecans in a large oven dish/sheet pan/tray big enough so that they form roughly a single layer without too much overlap. Nonstick is a plus.
- In a small pan heat the butter, maple syrup and ginger together over a medium-low heat until the butter has melted and all are combined. Pour the butter-syrup over the squash mixture and toss the vegetables in it then spread out flat.
- Season the ground turkey with a bit of salt and pepper then break chunks of it and dot them over the vegetables.
- Roast for approx 45min until the turkey is slightly brown and the vegetables are tender and starting to brown.
- Serve, making sure you scrape up as much of the tasty sticky maple from the bottom of the pan.