Butternut Squash and Sausage with Fried Sage Appetizer
This butternut squash and sausage recipe is: Paleo, Primal, Low Carb, Gluten Free and Wheat Belly friendly.
I love birthday parties. Who doesn’t love a birthday? For Caroline’s 35th birthday, she asked me to create all paleo small plates for the party. I didn’t tell her at the time, but I thought that it was 1) A super cool request. 2) A very hard request. 3) An awesome challenge. After brainstorming for a while, the game plan was set. For this dinner party I would par cook each course and finish it in real time in front of our guests.
The scariest part was logistics: Caroline’s birthday was on a Friday and she gave me the request on Wednesday night. It didn’t give much time for recipe creation, shopping, par cooking and course preparation. The first step for me was to come up with a theme for the meal. Paleo isn’t really a theme but a cooking style. As I was looking around my kitchen I saw pumpkins, 5 or 6 different kinds of squash and fresh parsnips. The theme would be a celebration of fall.
Here’s the course list:
• Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage with Fried Sage Leaf
• Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Roasted Root Veggies & Pesto
• Honey Goat Cheese, Blueberries & Brown Butter Walnuts over Baby Greens
• Stuffed Mini Peppers with Roasted Pumpkin Seed and Scallion Puree
• Paleo Shrimp & Cauli-Grits with Smoked Rib Meat
The recipe for butternut squash and sausage appetizers was more of an amuse bouche than a true appetizer, but boy did it taste good. I made a big batch of sage sausage mix and just formed mini patties out of it. The roasted butternut squash puree was stiff enough that it could be formed on top of the sausage.
QUICK COOKING TIP: Frying sage leaves is really easy and completely changes the flavor profile of the sage. Sage leaves are typically a super powerful herb that can overpower just about any recipe if not used sparingly. Once the sage is fried, it is mellow and delicious. To fry the sage, in a small frying pan heat about 1/4 cup olive oil. When it is shimmering, add the leaf and fry for 4-5 seconds. If you fry it too long it will brown. If the oil is too cool it will take longer to fry and the leaf won’t crisp very well. The smaller leaves are easier to fry too, but the big leaves can be broken into sections.
Let’s get to this awesome butternut squash and sausage amuse bouche.
Butternut Squash and Sausage Appetizer
For the Butternut Squash Puree
- 2 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1/4 TSP Cracked Pepper approx
- 1 Butternut Squash peeled, seeded and diced.
- 1 Shallot minced
- 4 Cloves Roasted Garlic
- 3 TBSP organic butter
For the Sage Sausage
- 1 LB Ground Pork
- 1/2 TBSP Fresh Sage minced
- 1/2 TBSP Fresh Thyme minced (no stems)
- 1/4 TSP Red Pepper Flake
- 2 Roasted GarlicCloves
- 1/2 TBSP Kosher Salt
- 1/4 TSP Ground Pepper
For the Fried Sage
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- Leaves Fresh Sage
For the Roasted Butternut Squash
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, mix the diced squash with olive oil, mix in kosher salt and pepper. Coat well and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size dice of the butternut squash. Should be tender and sweet. When cooked, place in a large bowl.
- Cook the shallots in a pan with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. When browned, remove from heat and add to the large bowl.
- Add the roasted garlic and butter to the large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash everything together.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
For the Sage Sausage
- Mix all the ingredients together well in a bowl.
- Form a mini patty and cook one off to taste. Adjust the seasoning in the mix. Cook off one more mini patty to taste. If you like it, form remaining mini patties.
- Heat a large cast iron or other heavy bottom pan over medium high heat. Add in some olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add in the mini sausage patties and cover.
- Cook, covered, for 2-3 minutes. Flip with tongs, recover and cook for 2-3 more minutes or until cooked through.
- Remove the cooked patties and set aside.
For the Fried Sage
- Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a small sautee pan.
- When shimmering but not smoking, add in 1 or 2 leaves. Fry for 4-5 seconds and remove with tongs to a paper towel lined plate.
Putting together the Butternut Squash and Sausage Appetizers
- Place all the sausages on a plate.
- Spoon the roasted butternut squash puree onto each sausage.
- Top with a piece of fried sage and enjoy hot!
PLEASE NOTE: The nutritional data is provided by NutriFox and may not be 100% accurate.
Final Thoughts on the Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage Recipe:
Caroline thought that there was huge depth of flavor from the fattiness of the sausage. She said the sweetness of the butternut squash and the bright herbs just made it explode with flavor. Just incredible. Big smiles all around the room. After all the courses were done, this one rated either first or second for everyone. The fried sage was a huge favorite as well.
I was thrilled because everyone was happy. Most important was Caroline for her birthday. The first course was completed, now we moved onto the next. That will be in the next blog post.
Let me know your thoughts about this one- if you were at the party, please chime in!