Butternut Squash Mole Sauce

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It’s now the beginning of April, and I am still trying to find ways to use winter squash! It’s totally my own fault though – I did buy an extra butternut squash at the farmer’s market a couple weeks ago.

I used half the butternut squash in my Spinach and Butternut Squash Pasta, but I still had to figure out what to do with the other half.

I wanted to try something different, but what?  Well, I watched a marathon of the show “Chopped” on Food Network the other day, and I noticed one thing.  No matter what the chefs on “Chopped” made, they always made a sauce.  And if that sauce wasn’t any good, or they ran out of time and didn’t get it on the plate, they typically didn’t make it to the next round.

Thankfully, I don’t have famous chefs critiquing the food that I made in my kitchen, or they would be horrified by the lack of sauce on my dishes!  But I did think that I could probably make a cool sauce using the butternut squash.  Turns out, I was right!



I sliced the pork chops and piled all this good stuff into a flour tortilla. Super tasty!

I know it’s not a traditional mole, but Butternut Squash and Anaheim Chili Sauce just didn’t have the right flow.  Call it creative license.

Butternut Squash Mole

  • 1 1/2 lbs Butternut Squash, cubed
  • 3 dried Anaheim Chilis (Ancho would work too, I just couldn’t find them.)
  • 1 medium white onion, rough chopped
  • 5-10 garlic cloves, depending on size (I used an entire head of garlic – about 6 big cloves)
  • Chinese Five Spice (the jar I have is a blend of Star Anise, Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel and Black Pepper)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Toast the dried chilis on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

They smelled awesome - sort of a warn, smoky, chocolate scent.  Very unexpected.

They smelled awesome – sort of a warn, smoky, chocolate scent. Very unexpected.

Once the chilies are toasted, remove them from the oven.  (Side Note:  I chopped off the top stems and shook out some of the seeds because I had never worked with dried chilies before and I didn’t know how hot they would be. I have no idea if that’s approved behavior or not.)  Soak the chilies in hot water to rehydrate.  You’ll also use this water when blending the sauce.

The water takes on the color of the chili peppers almost immediately.

The water takes on the color of the chili peppers almost immediately.

Toss the cubed squash, chopped onion and garlic with olive oil (enough to coat), salt, pepper, and a couple big pinches of Chinese Five Spice.  Transfer the squash mixture to a baking sheet (I used the same one I toasted the peppers on) and roast in a 350-400 degree oven for about a half hour.

After roasting - you want the veggies to be soft and get that caramelized outside.

After roasting – you want the veggies to be soft and get that caramelized outside.

Transfer the roasted veggies to a blender.  Add the rehydrated chili peppers (I only added two peppers at first – after I blended the sauce a bit, I tasted it before adding the last pepper) and some of the chili pepper water.

Looking down into the blender...

Looking down into the blender…

I added about a cup of water, blended it, tasted it, added a pinch of salt and another half cup of water and blended it some more.  Make it as thick or as thin as you like – I wanted a thicker, more substantial sauce.

Once the sauce is made, it keeps really well in the refrigerator and reheats beautifully.  I almost wish I had another butternut squash to make some more!  It went well with chicken, potatoes, pork, eggs – the list goes on and on!

This post is linked to What’s in the Box?  at In Her Chucks. 

What’s your go-to sauce?  I still have a half-dozen dried peppers left – any suggestions? 


11 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Mole Sauce

  1. Carolyn Galizio

    That looks delicious. I am not good at sauces. Just spaghetti sauce and gravy. Kim, however, is very good at sauce. I am thinking that his bourbon sauce that goes with ham is very special. Very special indeed. I will ask him to post that one.

  2. inherchucks

    What a creative idea! I have used butternut squash in a million ways but I have never tried it as a sauce. This looks delish.

    Thanks for sharing and linking up!

  3. Pingback: What’s in the Box? #68 | In Her Chucks

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