Monday, June 18, 2012

Guacamole with butternut squash and chipotle

Guacamole with butternut squash, chipotle & queso fresco. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books
Have you ever eaten a dish in a restaurant and thought to yourself "I have got to make this at home!"?

That's what I thought when I tried Alma Cocina's guacamole with butternut squash. Alma Cocina is an upscale, modern Mexican restaurant on Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. (I'm such an old-timer, I want to describe its location as across from the old downtown Macy's, but it's more accurate to say that it's in the 191 Peachtree building, next door to the Ritz-Carlton). The menu features a 20-ingredient mole chicken among other treats, and this unique spin on guac. Now, I love a bowl of guacamole. I've kicked it up with bacon on special occasions, but usually go with my boilerplate guac for weeknight Mexicano. It's this recipe to which I added a cupful of roasted butternut squash and a couple of teaspoons of smoky, chopped chipotle chile. A sprinkle of queso fresco crumbles finished the dish.

Guacamole with roasted butternut squash, chipotle and queso fresco

4 avocados

Juice of 1/2 lime 

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup roasted butternut squash, recipe follows

1 ounce queso fresco, crumbled

Tortilla chips for serving

2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle in adobo sauce

  1. Remove avocado pulp from shell and place in a medium bowl. Break up the avocado chunks with a fork. Add lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in butternut squash and chipotle. Adjust flavors. Pour into decorative bowl, garnish with queso fresco crumbles and serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Roasted butternut squash:

1 small butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Cover a sheet pan with foil. Using a Y-peeler or paring knife, peel the squash. Cut into two pieces, separating the long narrow neck from the round bottom. Halve each of these sections, scoop the seeds out of the round piece and trim the flesh into 1/4 inch dice.Toss the butternut squash dice with olive oil and salt and place on foil-lined pan. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes or until the pieces are tender and brown at the edges. Remove from oven and let cool, stirring occasionally. Store leftover squash in a covered container in the refrigerator. A small butternut squash will yield 2 cups of diced fruit.

Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer.

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