Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Panera Bread Offers Free Holiday Recipe Idea

Panera Bread is offering a free holiday recipe idea to all you great cooks looking for a quick and yummy addition to your holiday meal. Included below is a recipe for Cranberry Butternut Bruschetta. The photo of the completed dish looks delicious!

An American seasonal version of an Italian favorite


½ cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ cup walnut pieces, diced into ¼" pieces
1 small butternut squash 2 tablespoons butter ¼ cup finely minced shallots (or onions)
1 clove finely minced garlic pinch of cinnamon
pinch of sage leaves (optional) pinch of nutmeg pinch of salt pinch of cracked black pepper


Preparation: Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Slice the whole grain baguette across to create coin-shaped slices about ¼" thick and place on a cookie sheet. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil and bake for five minutes or until the bread is lightly toasted.

Cut the squash from blossom end to stem. Wrap one half in plastic and save for another time. Using a tablespoon, remove the seeds from remaining squash. Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over the surface of the cut portion of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the squash into a baking dish, cut side down with about 2 tablespoons of water and tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil. Cook the squash for 1 hour or until fork tender and the skin is evenly wrinkled. After cooling slightly, separate the meat of the squash from the skin and set aside.

Sauté 1 tablespoon of butter and all of the shallots or onion and garlic until translucent but not caramelized. Add the squash to the pan and slowly cook the mixture for about 10 minutes to evaporate some moisture and intensify the flavors. Season the mixture with cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, salt and pepper to taste.

Blend the squash mixture until smooth and thick. Remove from the blender and set the spread aside until service.

Garnish: Simply combine the dried cranberries, orange juice and walnut pieces in a bowl and allow to stand for 30 minutes before service time.

Service: Spread a small amount (about ½ teaspoon) of the squash mixture onto each slice of whole grain bread using a teaspoon. Top with about one teaspoon of the cranberry garnish and place on a decorative serving platter. Serve while crostini is crisp and fresh.


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