Lauren Groveman a recipe for delicious living

Maple-Ginger Butternut Squash

(November 15, 2007)
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Julie asked Lauren:

Dear Lauren,

I made mashed potatoes the other night and, by accident, I added too much milk and the potato mixture was way too loose. I served it anyway (but I didn't want to). Is there any way to rectify something like that? I wasn't sure how to make it thicker. Thanks for your thoughts.

Lauren says...

Yes, there is a way to thicken a potato-type of mixture (as well as root vegetable purees and mashed butternut squash). After combining all of your ingredients, if you've inadvertently added too much liquid, and your mixture seems too loose (soupy), just pour it back into a large skillet and let it cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat, until any excess liquid evaporates. You'll need to stir frequently, to prevent scorching on the bottom. The mixture is the right consistency (thick and creamy) when you drag your wooden spoon down through the center of the skillet and the path created fills up more slowly than it did when first entering the pan. Here's a delicious recipe for Maple-Ginger Butternut Squash that is assembled in advance and then baked in a casserole.

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Maple-Ginger Butternut Squash

Yield: serves 6

Maple-Ginger Butternut Squash

Sweet and savory at the same time, this dish is as soothing to eat as it is vibrant to look at. Perfect with grilled or roast pork or poultry, it's a welcome change from the usual sweet potato and would make a delicious addition to a Thanksgiving table with or without the traditional marshmallows (if serving a crowd, the recipe doubles perfectly). And, since now-a-days you can buy pre-peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash, this dish is also quick to prepare, making it a suitable "side dish" choice for busy week nights.

    Special Equipment:

  • Sturdy vegetable peeler, if not using pre-peeled and seeded squash)
  • 12 to 14-inch deep-sided skillet with a lid
  • 2 quart, oven-to-table baking dish

  • 4 pounds peeled, seeded and cubed butternut squash (if not using pre-cubed squash, purchase 4 pounds of whole squash)
  • 1 two to three-inch finger of fresh ginger, peeled and deeply slit, several times, with the thin blade of a boning knife
  • Water to cover
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, or more, to taste
  • cup maple syrup, or more, to taste
  • Mini marshmallows, for garnish (optional)

1) To simmer the squash and ginger: If planning to bake the dish directly after assembling, preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the interior of a 2-quart oven-to-table baking dish. Place enough water into a 12-to 14-inch skillet to come half way up the sides and bring it to a boil, covered. Add a good tablespoon of salt to the boiling water along with the cubed squash and pierced ginger. Cover the pan and boil until tender, about 30 minutes, over high heat. Uncover the pan and continue to allow the squash and ginger to cook until almost all of the water has evaporated. After most of the liquid has evaporated, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer. (The lower heat will help prevent the squash from scorching, as the liquid continues to evaporate.)

2) To finish assembling the dish: Remove the pan from the heat and take out the cooked ginger and finely mince it. Add this back to the skillet and mash the ginger and squash together, along with the butter and maple syrup. Season the mixture with salt, to taste, and pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Smooth the top and drizzle the surface with a bit more maple syrup, spreading it out to lightly glaze the top. If planning on baking at another time, allow the mixture to cool, then cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate. Bring close to room temperature before continuing. If freshly assembled and already hot, no need to cover the dish.

3) To bake. Bake the squash at 375°F until piping hot throughout, 30 to 40 minutes. If the mixture is slightly chilled, bake covered with the foil for the first 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until it's nice and hot. If using the marshmallows, once very hot, scatter them either evenly over the top or create a border around the sides. Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until the marshmallows are melted on the inside and the tops are turning golden and crisp.

Timing is Everything:

  • Lauren Logo This dish can be fully assembled up to two days ahead and kept chilled, well covered. Bring close to room temperature or adjust the baking time accordingly.


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Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food for Family and Friends" are available through

For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV & radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at

Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.