A Three-part Mini Series on Butternut Squash – Part 2

Our second installment in the butternut squash series requires some bravery in terms of strange uses for ingredients you may have heard of but not truly enjoyed in the past.


Barley for me often evokes memories of flavorless, goopy white bits in an unpleasant beefy flavored broth from a can.  However, I am open to trying new things.  I first made barley as risotto when it was suggested as an alternative grain to rice and I have found I enjoy the barley as much, if not more, than the original Italian-style risotto.

When you make this recipe, you will enjoy barley as a nutty, chewy grain that holds its own amongst a rainbow of other flavors and textures in this risotto style squash dish.

So without prejudging, I encourage you to try this with barley but I am offering you an exit strategy as this dish can easily have the barley substituted with arborio rice, quinoa, wild rice or even in a pinch, cooked pasta.  The liquid portion of the recipe should be adjusted to reflect the grain you choose but will be identical if you switch the barley with arborio rice.

Butternut Squash and Chard Barley Risotto with Hazelnuts

(I served this dish with chipotle bison sausage in carmelized red onions so how to create this meat side dish (easy peasy) follows the main dish recipe)

2 cups barley

4 cups broth (chicken, beef, veggie, whatever – I used chicken)

1 butternut squash

2 tbsp olive oil

two large pinches red pepper flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

1 bunch of red chard

1/2 cup of whole hazelnuts

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or more to taste)

2 large red onions

8-10 bison sausages (or any other sausage but a spicy one with a hint of sweetness will pair best)


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A Three-part Mini Series on Butternut Squash – Part 1

At this January doldrums time of year, there is nothing like the sunny orange glow of butternut squash to replace the sunshine.  Aside from butternut squash soup, most people don’t get up close and personal with this yummy veggie.  So I thought I would give you three options to try with your squash.  I am starting with a recipe for someone who REALLY likes it, then going to one where you MIGHT like it and finally a recipe for someone who HATES it but will love it when it is hidden in the midst of all the goodness.

So without further blathering on, here is our first installment. This is for a squash-lover, probably.

Butternut Squash presents Morrocan Tagine

This spicy stew has many different iterations with many different spices.  There is no absolute recipe since “tagine” refers to the cooking pot used to make the stew.  A tagine is a clay pot with a dome shaped top that helps condensation return to the dish.  I chose my new Le Creuset pot Ross gave me for Christmas which is good for stovetop to oven missions.  I believe you could do this recipe on the stove or in the oven with equally delicious results.  Your choice!  You can make it with eggplant instead of squash, omit the chicken to make it vegetarian or even choose an entirely different spectrum of spices.  If this were end of summer I would do it with squash and green beans or something local and in season.  Since yams were “local” I decided to add those.  I chose a curry-style tagine and basically was winging it since I do not EVER really follow a recipe.  So this is tested but not necessarily a “true” tagine.  I amalgamated this from a number of “references”.  Haha! 

This was an experiment and turned out super well, especially if it is cold and miserable outside.  You can reheat this stew and expect it to just get better and better!  I made double the amount as below so don’t be alarmed at how LARGE my looked.

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