Recently I was asked, “Do you have a new way to serve yams?” About the same time, my friend Barbara clued me in to how well spinach and cream cheese could go with yams and butternut squash. I experimented with the ingredients at my cousin Tim’s home and the following recipe is the result. It has gotten rave reviews every time I make it....
- Two 9-10 inch pie plates with pie crust in the bottom of each (no crust for the top)
- 2 medium yams
- 1 butternut squash about 6 inches in length
- 2 cups nonfat cream cheese (e.g., whipped or softened)
- 10 oz bag of pre-washed baby spinach leaves (slightly chopped)
- 12 green onions, chopped
- 3 gloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp basil, chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 lemon (grated rind and juice)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Pepper to taste
1st layer -
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Spray a large shallow casserole dish with olive oil. Place squash, cut-side down, in the casserole. (You can use a cookie-baking tray as long as the tray has sides at least ½ inch in height.) Add ¼ cup water to the casserole or cookie-baking tray.
Prick top of yams with a sharp knife. Place yams and squash casserole dish in oven preheated to 350 degrees F. Bake for an hour until soft. Remove from oven. Peel yams and squash and discard skins. Place yams and squash in a large mixing bowl. Add ½ tsp nutmeg and ½ tsp salt, and mash. Divide mixture between the two pie plates and smooth over the pie crust.
2nd layer -
Place one cup of softened or whipped cream cheese on top of yam/squash mixture in each pie plate. Smooth very gently over the first layer.
3rd layer -
Spray a large frying pan with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Sauté chopped green onions and chopped garlic. Add spinach and stir until it wilts. Stir in grated lemon rind and juice. Stir in chives, parsley, and basil. Remove from heat and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Place ½ of the spinach/herb mixture over the yam/squash/cream cheese mixture in each pie plate. Smooth gently over the second layer.
Cover each pie plate with tin foil. Place pie plates on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Remove the tin foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until crust is brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve. (A pizza cutter works well.)
You can assemble the savory pies and leave in the fridge overnight and bake the following day.