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Rachael | Set the Table

Hello! 

Welcome to Set the Table! My name is Rachael and I'm here to help you set your table with beautiful, healthy, delicious food your family and friends will love. More importantly, I'm here to encourage you to welcome everyone to your table. Talk. Listen. Laugh. Eat. Be kind. 

Acorn Squash Polenta + Coconut & Spiced Brown Butter

Acorn Squash Polenta + Coconut & Spiced Brown Butter

Acorn Squash Coconut Polenta | Set the Table
Acorn Squash Coconut Polenta | Set the Table

I have a husband who doesn't like potatoes. To be more accurate, he will eat them but probably won't enjoy them very much. After growing up in a household where meat and potatoes happened weekly, mostly because my dad loved anything if it ended with "and potatoes", this has been quite an adjustment for me. On the plus side, it's given me a good reason to think of new, creative side dishes to serve in place of the humble potato. This acorn squash polenta is a new favorite at our house that works perfectly for the holiday season.  The coconut milk adds a little something new to a dish filled with traditional flavors and the spiced butter drizzled over the top makes it super special and festive.

Butter has a way of doing that to things.

We are having a small Thanksgiving dinner this year. We are making one last pre-baby visit to Crested Butte, where we will roast a turkey breast (recipe for that coming tomorrow!), drink hot apple cider, and hopefully watch snow fall while sitting in front of a cozy fireplace. It's going to be wonderful to have some quiet time in the mountains after what has been a month or two of insanity. It's funny how life just tends to throw all the things at you in a very concentrated amount of time, isn't it?

Not only will it be nice to unwind and refocus, it will also be wonderful to take one last trip together before our lives change dramatically. The closer we get to welcoming baby #2 into the world, the more acutely aware I am that our days as a family of 3 are quickly drawing to a close. I'm both excited and scared about that. There are so many things that I feel like we just figured out about being parents. I suppose the good news is that we have all survived and most likely will the second time around. Right? That plus we get to increase the amount of people to love in our lives. That's going to be the best thing ever. Plus the baby snuggles. I'm banking on this one being a snuggler since our oldest never has been.

Other things that will be happening in Crested Butte: lots of Christmas music, sledding with daddy (don't worry, I'll be sitting out this year lest I be confused for a ginormous snow ball rolling down the hill), and lots of good food. I'm especially excited about the Crack Fries at Secret Stash. Yes.

No matter what you are doing for Thanksgiving, I know this acorn squash polenta will be a hit! It's easy and fast to make and can feed small or large groups easily.

Bonus: it's great leftover! Pile some in a bowl and top with your Thanksgiving leftovers in the days after the feast!

Acorn Squash Polenta with Coconut & Spiced Brown Butter

Makes 6-8 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Notes: You can substitute pumpkin puree (homemade or canned) in this recipe. Just add 1 cup of the puree into the polenta.

  • 1 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 12 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups stone ground polenta (not instant)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sage leaves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the squash, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been drizzled with the olive oil. Move the squash halves around a bit to coat the cut sides with the oil. Roast 30-40 minutes or until easily pierced on the skin side with a knife.

Scoop out the flesh of the squash and puree with 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the coconut milk and return to a simmer. Gradually whisk in the polenta to avoid clumping, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring often, until it begins to thicken. Cook about 15 minutes or until the polenta is tender. Stir the squash puree into the polenta and season to taste with salt.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until it begins to turn golden brown and has a delicious, nutty aroma. Stir in the spices, remove from the heat, and let cool about 5 minutes.

Ladle the polenta into a large serving bowl and drizzle with the spiced brown butter. Garnish with sage leaves and serve immediately.

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