Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet 'n Spicy Butternut Phyllo Rolls with Popcorn and Rosemary Salt Topping

Welcome to Chopped! Vegan Brunch version, courtesy of Vegan MoFo. Our challenge was to make a brunch item using the following ingredients: Butternut Squash, Apricot Preserves, Rosemary and Popcorn! Whew! Quite a challenge, but I am so excited to present my dish: Sweet 'n Spicy Butternut Phyllo Rolls with Popcorn Rosemary Salt Topping. Yes, it's a mouthful but oh what a delicious one!

Musing on what to make lead me down the cake/muffin/baked good lane, but that seemed too predictable, especially with apricot preserves thrown in there. My brunch favorites definitely tend toward the savory side, but the squash and preserves really brought sweet to the table so I knew I needed a counter weight to those two strong ingredients. Recalling a marinade I made with apricot preserves and chipotle in adobo, I knew that would work beautifully, and it would help me with my Vegan MoFo theme of using a DIY Pantry item in every post, perfect!

Using phyllo dough is one of my favorite ways to fancy up any dinner, and with some already waiting in the freezer, that was a done deal. If you have never worked with phyllo dough, check out my Phyllo Without Fear post.

Now for popcorn! I am so curious to see who got really creative with that ingredient because it seemed that using it as a topping was the only way to go! There is rosemary in the filling and in the popcorn topping, just because I love the flavor and thought a rosemary salt with add a little pizazz to the popcorn topping. Such fun!

Thank heavens we had more than 30 minutes to make our brunch Chopped creations. Mine definitely took a couple of hours! All of the dish washing probably ate up some of that time, but really, the things we don't know about reality cooking shows! Like what happens to the extra food that doesn't make it onto the plated dishes for the judges? Do the crew get to eat it? Just saying!

Sweet 'n Spicy Butternut Phyllo Rolls with Popcorn Rosemary Salt Topping

2 cups Butternut squash, puree (1 medium squash)
2 cups walnuts
2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce (not the peppers, just the sauce)(DIY Pantry)
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 - 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1 package phyllo dough, defrosted
olive for brushing phyllo (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon popcorn
1 tablespoon high heat cooking oil (peanut, coconut, sunflower, safflower)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, destemmed and minced very very very fine (1 tablespoon)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and rub olive oil on the cut skin. Place on parchment or foil lined baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes until squash is very tender (you should be able to scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon.

Scoop out flesh and allow to cool. Place walnuts in food processor and pulse to chop into small pieces, but not minced. Remove walnuts and place in mixing bowl. Add squash to processor and blend until smooth. Add puree to mixing bowl. Add chipotle, preserves, 1 tablespoon minced rosemary and salt. Blend very well.

If you have never worked with phyllo dough, check out my Phyllo Without Fear post. Unroll phyllo dough and place on dish cloth and cover to keep it from drying out. On a clean work surface, stack two sheets on top of each other and brush with oil or spray with oil. Repeat 6 times with 2 sheets at a time, brushing or spraying with oil as you go. Spread 1/3 of filling along the long side of the bottom of the sheets and carefully roll the phyllo, brushing or spraying with oil as you roll. Place roll on parchment lined baking sheet. Continuing making rolls with remaining phyllo and filling.

In heavy bottom skillet with a tight fitting lid, add popcorn and 1 tablespoon of neutral cooking oil and cover and shake continuously over high heat until all of the kernels have popped. Remove from heat and the pan immediately and place in a bowl. Clean out the bowl of the food processor and place popcorn in processor and pulse until it is chopped fine, but not made into power. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remaining rosemary and toss to mix.

Returning to the phyllo rolls, cut halfway through at 1 inch intervals to create half cut slices. This will make it easier to cut when the roll is finished cooking and not sending brittle pieces of phyllo flying all over your kitchen. Brush top with olive oil and sprinkle on popcorn rosemary salt topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then cut slices where precut. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Veggie Napolean at Proud Italian Cook
Carrot Cake at Omeniminttu (Applemint)
Savory Lentil Mushroom Burgers at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

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