Friday, January 21, 2011

(Almost) Lucia's Squash Pancakes



I had the squash pancakes last week at Lucia's Restaurant, a neighborhood gem of an eatery.  They were sooo good!

Last night, when I was digging in the fridge to figure out what dinner would be, I came across a pound of peeled and cubed butternut squash from Trader Joe's.  Aha!

I thought about those squash pancakes.  Could I make those?  Well, you can Google just about anything these days, right?


Well folks, Google failed me.  There were certainly recipes for squash pancakes, but none of them were right.  They fell into two camps - grated squash added to grated potato to make a variation on potato pancakes or pureed squash added to flour-laden breakfast-type pancakes.  Ahh, but neither of these was what I had at Lucia's.  Hers were very squashy and moist with just enough flour (I'm guessing) to hold them together.

I did Google Lucia's squash pancakes and came up with several reviews of her pancakes, but this was not helpful.  Lucia has the recipe in her brain, and she has not put it on the Net. Sigh.

So, what's a squash-pancake-starved curious home cook to do?  Well, I took a recipe from the flour-pancake camp and modified it.  The results were pretty good, if I do say so myself.  Good squash taste and not too bready.

The main difference between these and what I had at Lucia's is that mine are not as thick as hers.  You could try adding more baking powder and/or chilling the batter before cooking it.  Or maybe more eggs, or a hotter griddle.  I don't know.

The pancakes I had at Lucia's were served with cranberry relish and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).  I served them at home with whole-berry cranberry sauce and toasted pepitas, which was a fine approximation of her dish.

What a great way to get your kids to eat their vegetables!


(Almost) Lucia's Squash Pancakes
Serves 6

18 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed (save time and buy already prepped from Trader Joes) (You could also use hubbard squash, which has an even better flavor.)
1/2 cup milk
4 Tblsp melted butter
2 eggs
1 cup flour (use gluten-free flour mix such as Arrowhead Mills for a gluten-free version)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1/2 Tblsp baking powder (check for gluten)
1 tsp salt

In microwave safe bowl, combine the squash and 3 Tblsp water.  Microwave for 5 minutes on high, stir, then 5 minutes more.

In a food processor, combine melted butter, milk and eggs.  Pulse until combined.  Add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Pulse until combined.

Mash the cooked squash with a potato ricer or a large fork.  Add it to the food processor.  Process until you have a smooth batter.

Fry in a buttered skillet over medium heat.  Makes about 18 small (3") pancakes.

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