Serendipitous Butternut Squash

At the end of dinner the other night, my wife said, “This is a keeper. You should write this down.”  So I did, and I think it’s worth sharing.

Squash sautéed with pears and ground turkey.  Don’t laugh till you’ve tried it.  Once again, into the breach with a brief to cook dinner, but with no clear plan and no green vegetables in the house except lettuce.   But I did have a squash and fresh garlic, thanks to my fabulous CSA.

It was an evening of improvisation that turned out very nicely.  The squash was sautéed and then braised, and the pears make the meal, adding a nice touch of sweetness.  I served it with a green salad and rice.

A note of caution:  The quantities of herbs and spices are approximate, as are the quantities of broth and red wine.  I was just trying to get dinner on the table and didn’t take notes, or photos, as I went along.  While I used vegetable broth because that’s what was open, chicken broth would surely work fine.  If I had toasted walnut oil, I’d mix it 50-50 with olive oil to give the meal more of an autumn vibe.


  •  1 medium sized butternut squash.  Approx 1.5 lb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 barlett pears
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • thyme – approx. 1/2 teaspoon
  • cardamom – a pinch
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 – 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken or turkey
  • 3 tbs toasted walnuts
  • vegetable or chicken broth – enough to cook squash.  Ca. ¾ cup.

Toast the walnuts for 2 minutes and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add the onion and sauté over medium heat while you peel the squash and discard the seeds.  Cut the squash in half, then into half-inch cubes.

When the onion is soft, add the squash and salt, turning several times to ensure it’s coated with oil.  Saute squash for 10 minutes.

Add the red wine and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer.  When the red wine is reduced, add garlic, thyme, cardamom and ground meat.  Brown the meat.  When it’s cooked, add the broth.  Cover and reduce heat; cook for 20 minutes.

Cut the pears into half-inch or smaller pieces and add to the pot, cooking for about five minutes.  Add the toasted walnuts before serving.


About Peter, a/k/a sourdoughdaddy

Husband, dad, personal trainer, cross-country skier, trail runner, writer.
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