Poached Butternut Squash with Labne and Walnut Praline

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SourceAdapted from Gourmet Traveler Magazine
Prep time8 hours
Cooking time1 hour
Total time9 hours


This recipe was taught to us in a City Market cooking class called "The Fall Inspired Vegetarian," with Jessica Bongard of Sweet Lime Cooking Studio. The sweet, spiced butternut squash gets a crunchy topping with praline and is complemented with a dollop of labne (strained yogurt). 


9 ounces
yogurt, Greek (plain, 2% is good)
1 cup
2 ounces
2 teaspoons
1 cup
sugar, granulated
vegetable oil (for greasing)
2 1/2 cups
sugar, raw
1 teaspoon
2 1/2 cups
cardamom pods
cinnamon stick
squash, butternut (cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds)


For labne, place yogurt in a butter muslin or cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl. Pull muslin together, tie a knot to close, and keep in the fridge to drain overnight. Discard liquid.

For walnut and pepita praline, combine walnuts, pepitas and 2 tsp of salt in a bowl and set aside. Heat a saucepan over medium heat until a little sugar scattered in a pan starts to melt. If it smokes, reduce the heat. Scatter about a third of the sugar evenly in the dry pan and cook without stirring until light caramel (4-5min).  Stir.  Scatter with half of remaining sugar, cook until caramel (2-3min). Stir. Scatter with the rest of the sugar and cook until caramel (3-4min). Add walnut mixture, and quickly stir with an oiled spoon to coat. Spread out on an oiled sheet tray and leave to cool. Once cool, break into pieces and process in a food processor/mortar & pestle, until coarsely ground. Praline will keep for a week in an airtight container.

For poached butternut squash, stir sugar, 1 tsp salt and 2 ½ cups of water in a wide saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add spices and simmer to infuse for 5 minutes. Add squash rounds and cover with lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer until just cooked through, 25-35 minutes. Once cooked, set aside to cool in syrup. Serve squash, syrup and a quenelle of labne scattered with praline and pepitas.