The New Gourd

A winning side from a Las Vegas chef

Chef Shawn McClain made a name for himself in Chicago at Spring and Green Zebra restaurants. But last winter he moved to Vegas to prove that a great chef can make his mark on Sin City without simultaneously being a TV star. At Sage, he's generated a buzz with spirited dishes like foie gras custard brûlée. Sides have spunk, too, particularly this cider-glazed butternut squash dressed up for the holidays with pumpkin-seed vinaigrette. The recipe is a winner in Vegas and it should be a surefire hit for your Thanksgiving table, too.

Recipe adapted from Shawn McClain, Sage Restaurant, Las Vegas

Glazed Butternut Squash With Goat Cheese, Apples And Pumpkin-Seed Vinaigrette
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Chef Shawn McClain's glazed butternut squash recipe from Vegas's Sage restaurant
Servings
4
to 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large)--peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple--peeled, cored and cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped celery leaves
  • 2 ounces aged goat cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and position a rack in the center. In a large oven-proof skillet, combine the butternut squash with the cider and butter and cook over high heat until the cider begins to boil and the butter melts, about 3 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt, transfer to the oven and bake until the squash is tender, about 18 minutes.
  2. Return the skillet to the stovetop and cook the squash over medium heat, basting occasionally with the remaining liquid, until well glazed and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a small skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cider vinegar and shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the apple with the parsley, celery leaves and approximately 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette.
  5. Transfer the squash to a serving dish and shave the goat cheese over the top. Garnish with the apple mixture and spoon the remaining vinaigrette over the squash. Serve immediately.
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