ROASTED ACORN SQUASH w. LABNEH, POMEGRANATES & MARCONA ALMOND CARAMEL

A new year has brought on a new recipe. I have been bouncing this squash recipe around in my mind ever since the weather turned cold. Winter squash is great in that its holds up well with whatever flavors you add to it. Here along with the acorn squash, I added another winter staple, pomegranates to add a burst of freshness. The labneh, which is a fantastic Middle Eastern yogurt so thick it can almost pass for a soft cheese adds a creamy element. Marcona almonds add the crunch and saltiness to the dish. Specifically from Spain, Marcona almonds are smaller, rounder, and have a more delicate taste which is why I decided to pair it with the soft caramel. 

Finally the homemade caramel ties the dish together with a surprise sweeteness. This dish is a great winter weekend side dish when you wan to test your fab cooking skills but easy enough that you know everything that's going on. A big plus that it just so happens to be visually beautiful as well and if you have extra caramel left over, it can be dessert. 

Roasted Acorn Squash w. Labneh, Pomegranate & Marcona Almond Caramel

1 acorn squash, washed and cut into slices

1 pomegranate, deseeded 

1/2 c. Labneh 

1c. Marcona almonds 

1c. Sugar 

Oil 

Salt 

Pepper 

Honey 

Butter 

1/2 n 1/2 or heavy cream 

Place a piece of greased wax paper in a rimmed baking dish and set aside. Deseed your pomegranate, picking out any white piths and set aside. 

Marcona Almond Caramel: In a non reactive saucepan over medium heat add in 1 cup of sugar. Using a metal spoon or a rubber spatula slowly stir sugar as it begins to melt. Once sugar is completely melted add in a tablespoon of butter and about 4 tablespoons of 1/2 -n- 1/2 or heavy cream if you are using it.  Stir in marcona almonds and pour caramel on to the greased wax paper being careful of residual splatter. Spread caramel in a thin even layer and allow to cool in the fridge. 

Acorn Squash:

Wash your acorn squash and pat dry. On a flat surface cut the acorn squash into slices about 1/2 an inch thick, and remove inner seeds.  Toss with oil, salt and pepper and roast flat on a wax paper lined baking sheet at 375 for about 15 minutes or until squash is fully cooked. 

Labneh:

In a medium bowl, mix labneh, honey and salt and pepper together. Adjust sweetness and seasoning to your liking. 

Assemble: 

Place roasted acorn squash on a large serving plate. Next add spoonfuls of labneh and sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top. Place medium sized spoonfuls of marcona almond caramel all over the squash and serve immediatley.