Sunday, November 22, 2009

Savory Butternut Squash Crumble

“I’m wary of health faddists. When they’re done talking, you can’t eat anything. We need a nutritionist who loves good food.”
--Julia Child

Julia, I completely agree. I believe that a lot of what people produce inside of their heads deters them from tasting new foods. After making this savory squash crumble, a fellow housemate of mine exclaimed, “Wait, there is squash in this? Wow, I don’t even like squash and this is good!”

Lately I have been reading Irena Chalmers’ Food Jobs, a book about the variety of professions available for culinary students, career changers, and FOOD lovers. She is helping me translate my “zest for flavor into a satisfying profession.” Everyday I scour the Internet as well as my library of cookbooks and circle of food loving friends for new and exciting places to eat, concoctions to create, and finger-licking food finds. Working in the food industry is an ever-changing and on-going process that keeps us all on our toes and constantly having to play and finesse…and finesse and finesse…

Butternut squash oozes beauty, with that bright orange color and that bulbous yet elongated shape. Roasted, b-squash turn soft and caramel-y. This time, however, I stewed the squash with some tomatoes, onions, and spices and then topped it with a crumbly crown of crumb topping.

B-squash, I feel like you should be dessert but no, hark, you are dinner, and a healthy dinner to boot.

I want to feed this savory crumble to you…this crumble makes my lips quiver with warmth and happiness and my shoulders shimmy and shake!

Ok, enough of my silly cliché banter—it’s time to get stewing and crumbling!

Just a word of advice for all you food photographers out there: I have a slight problem...I tend to make something and either immediately want to eat it or someone else immediately wants to eat it. Understandable. As a result, I present to you some scraps of photos that definitely could have been better—better lighting, better styling, better everything. I’m working on my problem. For now, if you want to see the real deal, check out La Tartine Gourmande’s photos. Yes, she rocks.

*NOTE: I made this vegan, but I would imagine that if I added Parmesan cheese and used butter instead of oil in the topping, everything would come together marvelously. However, the vegan version was so mouthwatering that I even forgot about cheese for a minute there. Yep, I did.

**NOTE #2: Feel free to experiment with different herbs (thyme, oregano...), squashes (acorn, kabocha...), and cheeses (gruyere, sharp cheddar...).

Savory Butternut Squash Crumble
Borrowed from LaTartineGourmande

Serves 6-8


1 cup flour
½ cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I omitted the cheese this time to make it vegan)
Pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons butter, diced and at room temperature (I used oil to make it vegan)
optional: 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1.In a bowl, combine the flour, walnuts, parsley, Parmesan, brown sugar, and a generous sprinkle of pepper.

2. Add the butter and work with your fingertips until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Cover and refrigerate.


Butter (for the dish)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bay leaf
½ cup canned tomatoes
1 peeled butternut squash, cut into 1-inch dice
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
optional: 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1. Generously butter a 10-inch baking dish.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the butter and when it melts, cook the onion, coriander, and bay leaf, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until softened.

3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the butternut squash, sage, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Turn down the heat. Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables soften.

4. Set the oven at 350.

5. Discard the bay leaf from the squash mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan; stir gently. Transfer the vegetables to the baking dish. Spoon the crumble mixture on top.

6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden (My top did not get super golden due to my using oil instead of butter. Oh well, it was still mighty good!).

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