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Author Notes: I recently made a dip similar to this one with eggplant and wanted to try it out with another Autumn vegetable because of the earthy flavors associated with the spices. It worked quite well with the butternut squash and is lovely served with some crunchy pita chips. I think this would be a great appetizer for a fall party or Thanksgiving. Enjoy! —fortheloveofyum
Serves 4, as a starter
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds, found in most Pakistani/Indian grocery stores
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
for the dip
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into a 2 inch dice
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 cup labneh (Middle Eastern strained/thickened yogurt)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- salt, to taste
- a sprinkling of chopped parley and/or mint, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish, optional
- toasted pita bread, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a dry fry pan on medium heat, dry roast the spices for about 5-7 minutes, or until you begin to smell them releasing their aromas. Let them cool for about 2 minutes and transfer to a spice grinder and pulse until they form a spice mix. Set aside.
- Next, in a bowl toss the butternut squash pieces with the spice mix, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the pomegranate molasses, garlic clove, and salt to taste.
- Place the butternut squash on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. While the butternut squash is baking, caramelize the 2 shallots in a saute pan on medium-low heat with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. This should take 10 minutes. Once cooked, set the shallots aside.
- Remove the butternut squash for the oven and allow it to cool slightly for 10-15 minutes.
- Once, the butternut squash has cooled place it in a food processor with the labneh, feta, and half the caramelized shallots. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and taste for salt.
- Garnish with the parsley and/or mint, remaining caramelized shallots, and the fresh pomegranate seeds. Also, drizzle some olive oil on top for a nice sheen. Serve with the toasted pita.
- I liked to serve it right away (slightly warm) or at room temperature.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Butternut Squash
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