I don’t know very many people who look forward to the sweet potato dish on the table at Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Pacific Northwest? Maybe we don’t know how to treat sweet potatoes the way they do in the South? Whatever the reason, the whole sweet potato with marshmallows thing has always seemed odd to me. (PS that recipe was invented by a marshmallow factory owner in the early 1900’s to sell more marshmallows) Everyone knows that the stuffing is the best thing on the table anyway, right?
I offer this dish as an alternative to the sweet potato casserole. It’s extremely easy to make. It’s colorful and beautiful to look at. The syrup gives it an earthy sweetness while the pomegranate gives it a colorful, tart pop! You can assemble the components ahead of time and reheat briefly before serving so it won’t take up turkey-space in the oven. It’s also a lot healthier than the sweet potato casserole because it has no refined sugar, and there’s not a marshmallow in site.
- 1 kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thin slices, you could another type of squash, like acorn or butternut. I like kabocha for its bright orange flesh. You need about a 3 lb. squash.
- 3 T. maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
- 3 T. butter, melted, you could use olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 t. chili powder
- 1 small sprig of rosemary, needles off the stem and chopped
- 1/2 C. chopped, dried black figs
- 1/2 C. of fresh pomegranate seeds
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the syrup, butter, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, the rosemary, and the figs to coat with the butter and syrup. Arrange the squash mixture on the baking sheet in one layer. Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the mixture once or twice. You want the squash to be tender and the edges to be caramely and golden brown. Arrange in a serving bowl, finish with a drizzle of syrup, a little more salt, and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. This could be served at room temperature, or reheated without the pomegranite just before serving.