Roasted Butternut Squash & Chorizo Salad

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WARNING:  Never start a blog when you’re sick, especially if you work with children.  Signs of recovery may disappear in a flash, only to end up as a two month long, miserable cold.  No cooking will be done unless it comes from a can or the freezer section, or if someone else does it for you.

I’m glad to finally be able to cook again!  It’s been a long month of soup, canned refried beans, supermarket prepared rotisserie chicken, and copious amounts of yogurt.  A cold can really take you out, especially when you work with children who are learning the art of covering their coughs and sneezes.  I wanted to get back into the kitchen by cooking one of my new favorite dishes.  It was one of those wonderful recipes that came together with random ingredients I tend to keep as staples!

One of those ingredients I keep around is Chorizo.  Chorizo is my favorite kind of sausage. As I type this, I can imagine my brother laughing and saying, “el respeto (respect), Veronica,” mimicking what my extremely old-fashioned father would say anytime he, my oldest brother, or I said anything borderline inappropriate.  To me, it brings childhood nostalgia of trips to the grocery store with my mom.  She would go to el carnicero, the butcher, to buy the chorizo that was in the refrigerator.  When I was little, I was convinced that the huge pile of chorizo was one, endless sausage casing spun into links that the butcher cut off as he sold them.  My mom would cook it very simply, folding it into scrambled eggs or beans.  The sweet and spicy aroma would fill the air, and take over the house for hours, not that I’m complaining.  It was one of my favorite things to eat along with piping hot tortillas.

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When I moved from Chicago to Seattle, one thing I learned right away is that Mexican ingredients and food are no where near as easy to find as they are in Chicago.  QFC didn’t carry it in their meat department the way most Chicago groceries did.  The closest I could get to good chorizo at the grocery store was a prepackaged Chorizo from Casique, which would crumble into tiny pieces in a huge pool of grease when I cooked it.  Fortunately, one day, while I was haphazardly walking through the throngs of tourists at Pike Place Market, I stumbled upon Uli’s sausage. *Cue the angels singing*  They had CHORIZO.  TWO KINDS.  I WAS SAVED!  I bought it, eager to see if it tasted, and cooked up, the way the kind I had as a child did.  IT DID!  Now I buy and use it regularly, including in the recipe today.

I love combinations of sweet and spicy, and this recipe is one of that lovely combination.  It is warm, spicy, sweet, and by adding rich and creamy goat cheese, extremely comforting.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Chorizo Salad

Ingredients

For the Butternut Squash & Chorizo Mixture

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  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • a generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 chorizo sausage links (about 3/4 lb)
  • 1/2 cup raw roasted, unsalted walnuts.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Parchment paper makes cleanup a breeze!
  2. Peel and cut the butternut squash into 1 1/2 inch cubes.  Having a very sharp knife pays off for this kind of task.  Butternut squash puts a good knife to the test.  Put them into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the honey and coconut oil to the butternut squash and toss to evenly distribute the ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, ground clove, the salt and pepper.
  5. Add the spices to the mixing bowl with the butternut squash and toss the ingredients again to evenly coat the butternut squash with the spices.

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  1. Place the butternut squash on the parchment paper lined baking sheet, making sure to spread it as a single layer.
  2. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.
  3. When the butternut squash has about 20 minutes left to roast, begin to cook the chorizo and prepare the dressing (recipe follows).
  4. Remove the chorizo from the casing, and cook in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, stirring often.
  5. Remove the chorizo from the skillet, draining as much fat as you can with a slotted spoon or spatula, but reserve that fat!  You’ll need it for the dressing.
  6. Remove the butternut squash from the oven once it has finished cooking and allow to cool slightly.

For the Dressing:

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  • 2 Tbsp fig butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 quick splash of apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Whisk all the ingredients together until completely combined

To serve:

  1. Toss the butternut squash, chorizo, and walnuts together along with the dressing.
  2. Top with goat cheese
  3. ENJOY!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Meanwhile, I’m just waiting for this cold season to be over!

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