Thursday , 18 January 2018

Turkey Salsa Negra over Acorn Squash

Hmm…so what’s the difference between hash and a ragout?  Would this dish be classified as an acorn squash hash or acorn squash ragout?  Or even a Mexican cornucopia of sautéed vegetables?  (Ok so…probably not the last one).

I was torn over what to call this so took the easy way out by leaving it off.

Hey all you food bloggers out there – how do you think up names for your dishes?

But anyway, I’ve been fascinated by salsa negra ever since I first heard of it.

I mean we all know the standard salsa, pico de gallo and salsa verde but negra?  Black salsa?  I was intrigued.

The recipe for salsa negra below is from Food & Wine courtesy of Rick Bayless.  Since he’s known for this cuisine I figured I’d start with that as my base rather than try to re-invent the wheel considering I’d never even had it before.

But the question was, “Ok, I can make salsa negra and now what?  What does one do with salsa negra?”

Well, if you’re me, you think about the fact that you need a turkey meal this week and you have two acorn squash from the CSA just begging to be used up.  So you throw it all together and hope for the best.

And it…was…good.

Turkey Salsa Negra over Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 4

Turkey Salsa Negra over Acorn Squash


    Salsa Negra
  • 7-ounce can chipotle chiles in adobo, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon molasses, preferably unsulfured
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Turkey and Squash
  • 1 lb turkey tenderloins
  • 2 medium to large acorn squash
  • ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 anaheim chiles, de-seeded and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small tomatoes, or 1 large de-seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp Mexican chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cilantro
  • ¼ tsp sugar (optional, but it brings out the sweetness of the squash a bit)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro, minced


    To Make the Salsa Negra
  1. Combine chipotle chiles and adobo with molasses, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and ¼ a cup of water in a food processor. Process until well combined. Strain in a strainer into a sauce pan, pushing down on the solids to get as much of the liquid out as possible.
  2. Simmer over medium low heat 20 minutes until thickened. Allow to cool to at least room temperature.
  3. For the Turkey and Squash
  4. Reserve ¼ cup of salsa negra and set aside. Place turkey in a bowl and pour remaining salsa negra over it. Mix well and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours up to overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 400.
  6. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
  7. Cut each half into ½ inch thick slices and lay on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through (you want it to be softened but not mushy). When cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut off the skin and dice the squash.
  8. At this point you can grill the turkey and cook the vegetables at the same time, it’s up to you or do one after the other. I was inside using an indoor grill so I did it both at the same time to make it quicker.
  9. Preheat grill to medium to medium-high, grill tenderloins for about 5 – 6 minutes per side until done and cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. After resting, slice turkey and toss with 2 Tbsp of reserved salsa negra. Cover and keep warm if vegetables aren’t done at this point.
  10. Heat ½ tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Cook onion, garlic and Anaheim chiles for 10 minutes or until very soft; stirring frequently.
  11. Add in squash, tomatoes, remaining 2 Tbsp reserved salsa negra and seasonings (chili powder, cumin, cilantro and sugar if using). Cook for another 5 – 8 minutes or until squash has completely softened. Add any salt and pepper to taste, Stir in cilantro. Optional: If you’d like, at this point you can top the vegetables with about ¼ cup of cheese such as cheddar, pepperjack, queso fresco, etc.
  12. Serve acorn squash hash with turkey on top.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can begin to describe the deliciousness of this.

And seriously, this is why Rick Bayless is amazing.  The salsa negra was good, no, make that uiber-delicious.  Marinating turkey tenderloins in it overnight gave it the most amazing flavor and moisture.

The smokiness from the salsa matched really well with the slight sweetness and flavors of the squash and vegetables underneath.  When I reheated it for lunch the next day I was honestly surprised at how good it still tasted.

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  1. Never tried that type of salsa before looks like it is a delicious mix of sweet, sour and savoury
    Raymund recently posted..GambasMy Profile

  2. Your salsa negra sounds absolutely delicious. I am a big fan of chipotle and combined here with the molasses and balsamic, I am imagining a rich smoky flavour; delish. What a nice pairing with the turkey and squash – we just had acorn squash the other night and I was reminded how flavourful it is… it is challenging my traditional allegiance to butternut squash :).
    Kelly recently posted..Seared Scallops over Roasted Mesquite Squash and Garlic SpinachMy Profile

  3. Hash or Ragout I dont care specially when that dish is served in front of me, I wont even ask its name Ill jsut eat it straight away as it looks so good!
    Raymund recently posted..BurgooMy Profile

  4. It looks very delicious salsa with squash. I want to make this at home. It is good in eyesight, Squash is a very nutritional vegetables that I’ve known. Usually in our neighborhood they keep squash be boiled and put a coconut milk on it. And it taste great delicious.

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