Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crispy Butternut Squash Chips, Two Ways

Over the past few weeks, my CSA share has left me with an abundance of various winter squashes.  And by abundance, I mean they've been occupying half of our kitchen table.  I didn't grow up eating winter squash, so I'll admit it's a bit of a culinary blind spot.  Plus, it seems like no matter how it's prepared it has a vaguely baby-food-like consistency.


Among the kabochas, acorns, sweet dumplings, delicatas, and carnival squash sat three squat, smallish butternut squash.  I've made a fair amount of kale chips in my day, so it was no small leap to imagine crispy, delicate butternut chips.  In order to handle the concave nature of the bottom half of the butternuts, I decided my Y-shaped vegetable peeler would be a best tool for the job (plus, my cheap mandoline desperately needs replacing).

I cut the butternuts in half, separating the top from the bottom, and then cut in half again to expose the seeds and flesh.  Once seeded, I cut each section into four more wedges, so that I ended up with 16 butternut squash wedges.  Then, I set to work peeling the flesh into thin strips from each wedge.  Since the first few were super thin, I saved those for salads.  Eventually, I ended up with a mound of thinly sliced sections of squash:
I lined my biggest baking sheets with parchment paper and sprayed them lightly with olive oil, and then laid out the squash slices in a single layer:
Spritz with another mist of olive oil and add your seasonings of choice - I made two different varieties.  One was a BBQ flavored seasoning, and the other was a mix of fresh rosemary and sea salt.  After a long bake in a 200 degree oven, they emerge a fraction of the size of their original selves.  Here's the finished BBQ chips:
And here are the rosemary and sea salt chips:

MAN, this was a good idea.  I feel a tiny bit better about snacking on these instead of potato chips, because they're baked, and winter squash is full of good-for-you nutrients.  I'll be making these again for sure; they'd be excellent nibbles to keep on hand for holiday or New Year's parties.  The rosemary variety, I think, would go especially well with a glass of bubbly.

Wishing everyone happy holidays and a fantastic new year!


Crispy Butternut Squash Chips, Two Ways
Click here for a printable recipe.

Butternut Squash, however many you want to use up (1 smallish butternut will fit on two large baking trays)
Olive oil spray

For BBQ Chips:
1 t. smoked paprika
1 T. chili powder (salt free is preferable)
3/4 t. cumin
3/4 t. dark brown sugar
1 T. salt
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. cayenne

Mix spices in a small bowl, stir well to combine.

For Rosemary-Sea Salt Chips:
1 T. fresh rosemary
3 t. sea salt

Finely chop rosemary.  Mix in a small bowl with salt, using your fingers to massage the salt into the rosemary to release the oils.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the top away from the bottom of the butternut squash, and then cut the top and bottom sections in half.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from the bottom sections (a grapefruit spoon works well for this if you have one; otherwise a regular metal spoon or ice cream scoop will work).  Cut each section into 4 wedges.  Using a vegetable peeler, create thin slivers of squash, discarding the first few skinny slices or saving them for another use.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and mist lightly with olive oil spray.  Arrange the squash slices in a single layer.  Mist lightly with a second coat of olive oil, and then sprinkle lightly with either the BBQ or the rosemary-sea salt seasoning.  Place baking sheets in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours, rotating pans halfway through the baking time.  Once crisp, let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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