I love butternut squash. Love love love. It is definitely my favorite gourd, and one of my favorite vegetables period. There are only a few things that can really improve on the flavor of butternut squash and garlic is one of them (though to be fair, I think garlic improves everything). This combination of sweet squash and intense garlic flavor make for the perfect side dish with almost any protein.
Making this mash requires a bit of multitasking tasking so if you’ve got a toaster oven, get that baby ready – it will make this much easier.
2 medium-sized butternut squash
1 head of garlic, whole
2 tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
5 tsp high quality oil, divided (olive or avocado)
1 tsp bacon fat (or equivalent)
Freshly cracked salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 375*F and toaster oven to 400*F.
Remove stems and butt and cut the gourds in half. Using a spoon or fork, remove all seeds and as much of the attached fibers as possible (scissors may help). From the garlic, peel off as many outer layers as possible without breaking off any individual cloves. Using a sharp knife, behead your garlic (cut about 1″ off the top of the head to reveal the cloves).
In the bottom of a small oven-safe dish or ramekin – though foil will do in a pinch – pour 1-2 tsp of olive oil. Place the head of garlic right-side up in the oil, season with a pinch of salt, cover the top with an additional 1-2 tsp of oil, and cover with foil. Bake in the toaster oven for about one hour or until garlic cloves are completely soft.
Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone baking mat. Coat the pan evenly with 1 tsp bacon fat (or equivalent, non-stick spray is okay too) and coat the inside of the squash with a light layer of oil, making sure to get all the exposed flesh covered to prevent burning. Cover the pan with a light layer or salt and place gourds, flesh side down, onto the pan. Bake in the oven for about one hour or until squash is completely soft.
Once the squash is cooked through, carefully flip over and gently scoop out the flesh into a large, heat-safe bowl (I just use a large serving spoon for this). Discard skin. When the garlic is cooked through, let cool for a few minutes before gently peeling all the cloves – the skin should be fairly easy to tear open at this point. Give the garlic a quick, rough chop with a knife if you do not want to risk the chance of biting into a full clove (The Boyfriend loves this so I usually skip this step). Add all of the garlic and 2 tbsp of butter to the squash. Season with salt and pepper, and gently mash with a large spoon, fork, or masher to desired consistency (we like that fine line between smooth and a little chunky).
Finish with a few pieces of coarse salt (optional) and serve immediately.