Champaign resident Heather Munson sent me this recipe, which she didn't write, but made last year for Thanksgiving and will make again this year.
"I made it a day or two in advance and just reheated it in the oven shortly before the meal," Heather wrote me. "I love that it's not bathed in butter and marshmallows."
Mashed Butternut Squash and Sweet Potatoes with Citrus
1 large butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds), washed, sliced in half length-wise, seeds scooped out with a grapefruit spoon
1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed, pricked with a knife
3 tablespoons olive oil (or less)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cups water
Zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons, about 3 tablespoons (see notes at bottom)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the squash on the foil cut-side up and add the sweet potatoes. Roast for an hour plus the number of minutes left to preheat. (See notes.) Scrape the flesh from the skins.
Meanwhile, heat the oil on medium until shimmery in a large skillet. Add the onion and stir to coat with fat. Slowly cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn golden and nearly brown.
In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Drop in the zest and let cook for about three minutes. Lift out with slotted spoon or strainer. Chop til fine.
In a large bowl, mash the cooked squash and sweet potatoes until smooth. Mix in the cooked onion, chopped zest, cinnamon and salt and pepper to taste.
To prep ahead, make this recipe the day before and refrigerate. Before dinner, you can warm the dish up in a saucepan.
The citrus flavor develops only after sitting for a couple of days, so it's recommended that you make it in advance.
If the sweet potatoes aren't full roasted, pop them into the microwave for a few minutes to finish. A microplane will create too fine a zest, so use a paring knife to cute wide swaths.