Good morning! This is actually a great morning for me today – this teacher has a SNOW DAY! NYC is in the midst of a snow storm and I’m reaping the benefits The only thing better than a snow day, is a FRIDAY snow day. Helloooo three-day weekend.
The other night I put together this fabulous meal. It was very simple and perfect warm comfort food for a freezing cold evening. I have to admit, I’ve always been a little intimidated by squash. I like to eat it, but wasn’t convinced that I liked to prepare it. It seemed pretty high-maintenance. They are really, really tough to halve when raw, and then there’s the scooping out of seeds, then you can finally bake/roast it. Seems like an awful lot of work.
But as I finally discovered the other day, it’s oh so worth it. So this is my Farmer’s Market local meal of stuffed butternut squash and slow-cooker turkey. Here’s the whole meal, step by step.
- 1 head of garlic, plus 2 additional cloves
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2-4 lb turkey breast
- 1 butternut squash
- white wine
- chicken broth
- salt and pepper
- bread crumbs, dried apricots (this is for the stuffing, you can sub almost anything, though)
- Preheat the oven to 375. Turn on your Crock Pot to high. Put 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of the Crock Pot and put the lid on it.
- Take a head of garlic. Cut the pointy top end off, exposing all the cloves. Roughly peel some of the extra skin off the outside. Put the garlic, cut side up, in a small oven-safe dish. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Loosely cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil.
- Chop 2-3 other cloves of garlic and add to the Crock Pot.
- Once the oven heats up, put the garlic in the oven for one hour.
- Take out your thawed turkey breast. Salt and pepper both sides of the breast. Add any other spices you’d like. I love herbs de provence, so I used them. Salt and pepper would be fine on their own, too.
- Place the turkey breast side down in the Crock Pot. Add 1/3 – 1/2 bottle of white wine (you’ll drink the rest at dinner), and about 2 glugs of chicken broth (maybe 1/2 c). Place the lid on. Set the timer for 2.5 hours. Flip the breast over about half-way through.
- Carefully cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise. (It’s easiest, I found, to start at the neck). Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits.
- At this point, the garlic is just about done. Once it is, remove the dish from the oven and set it aside. Change the temperature on the oven to 350.
- Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. (A jelly roll pan is the kind that looks like a cookie sheet, but has a shallow lip around the edge. If you don’t have one of these, any oven-safe pan will work). Parchment paper is awesome, especially for baking. I highly recommend it, but if you don’t have it, use aluminum foil. This will make for really easy clean up
- Place squash face down on the parchment paper. Brush the skin with olive oil. Put the squash in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing. There are so many different things you can do for stuffing, so get creative! Remember, whatever you prepare, you’ll mix in some of the roasted butternut squash (like a twice-baked potato). I got some inspiration from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and made a sort of sweet/savory stuffing with bread crumbs, roasted garlic, and dried apricots. I used all the garlic, a heaping handful of plain breadcrumbs, and about 8 dried apricots, chopped.
- The butternut squash should be done. Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. The squash will be really hot, though, let it hang out for a few minutes. Once it’s been out of the oven a few minutes, use a spoon to scrape some of the soft squashy goodness out. Add it to your stuffing mixture.
- Mix the squash and the stuffing mix together then spoon it back into the squash cavities. Pop those babies back into the oven for 30 more minutes.
- Everything should finish up at around the same time. Be sure the check the turkey breast with a meat thermometer.
Plate it up! The tasty white wine broth in the crock pot will be great as sauce, and the turkey will be very moist and flavorful. This meal would easily feed four, and would be pretty nice for a small dinner party. Pair with a nice green salad, and don’t forget to drink the rest of your wine!