Sunday, November 16, 2014

Autumn Bruschetta

I don't know if it's the bazaar-ly cold weather or the excessive Christmas ads on tv, but I find myself in the Christmas spirit already. I'm just itching to bring my holiday decorations down from the attic, and yesterday I even found myself slightly embarrassed that I still have a glass pumpkin shaped bowl full of gourds on my kitchen table.  

But wait…. Thanksgiving hasn't come yet!  It's still fall!  To adjust my seasonal confusion, I thought I'd make a nice fall dish.  I bring you: Autumn Bruschetta. 

Layers of sweet and savory flavors just taste like fall in one bite.  I pureed sweet roasted butternut squash with a bit of chicken stock and parmesan to enhance the flavors.  For the second layer, brown sugar caramelized onions.  And to top it off?  Tangy, savory bleu cheese.  

For a make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizer, prepare the squash puree and caramelized onions a few days in advance, and assemble on the big day.  

* 1 baguette, sliced
* 3 c. butternut squash, cubed
* 1/3 c. chicken stock
*2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
* 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
*1 tbsp. thyme
*1 tbsp. olive oil
*1 tsp. brown sugar
*3 oz. creamy blue cheese
*cooking spray (preferably olive oil)

Preheat the oven to 400. Arrange butternut squash  on a baking sheet and spray generously with cooking spray.  Season with salt and pepper and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden brown.  Set aside to let cool slightly before pureeing. 

To caramelize the onions, heat a sauté pan to medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onions to the pan and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until caramel in color (stir often and reduce heat to medium low if the onions start to brown quickly).  Season with salt, pepper, and add brown sugar and thyme. 

Add the sliced baguette to a sheet pan and toast in the 400 degree oven for 5 minutes, or until slightly dry and toasted.  

Puree the squash, chicken stock, and parmesan cheese together in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth. 

To assemble the bruschetta, spread the squash puree on each baguette slice, top with caramelized brown sugar onions and crumbled blue cheese.  Serve as is, or return to the oven for 3-4 minutes if you prefer the cheese to be melted.  Enjoy! 

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