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13 Oct

Spiced Pork and Butternut Squash with Sage

Spiced Pork and Butternut Squash with Sage is the perfect meal for a chilly day, not only because it’s hearty and comforting but also because the blend of autumnal spices warms the belly.

Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and ginger aren’t just for pumpkin pie. This blend of spices also makes a delicious spice rub for pork. Pumpkin (or squash) doesn’t have to be left out entirely. In this recipe, butternut squash is roasted to crispy perfection and served alongside the braised pork with a garnish of brown butter and sage.

You can mix the spices together yourself, or to save time just use Pumpkin Pie spice blend from the store. Once seasoned, the pork simmers in broth for a half hour or so until tender. That same broth is mixed with coconut milk and quickly reduced into a savory sauce.

The squash is roasted separately so the edges become crisp and caramelized, a texture that’s a nice contrast to the tender meat. The final step – browning butter with minced sage – should not be skipped. You’ll be amazed by how the rich, nutty flavor of this simple garnish takes the dish to a whole new level.


  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (1.25 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (1.25 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (1.25 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (1.25 ml)
  • 2-3 pounds of boneless country style pork ribs or pork shoulder cut into 1-inch chunks (900-1350 g)
  • 1 butternut squash or pumpkin, weighing about 3 pounds (1350 g)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil (90 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (5 ml)
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth (250 ml)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, or more to taste (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (30 g)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (15 ml)


Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C).

In a small bowl mix together the allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat then rub it in. Set the meat aside.

Peel the squash or pumpkin.

To peel and cut a butternut squash or pumpkin: Cut the top stem off. Cut a little bit off the bottom too, so it sits flat on a cutting board. Using a sturdy vegetable peeler, peel off the skin. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds/stringy parts with a spoon. Cut the halves into slices then into chunks of the same size, about 1-inch square.

Spread the cut pieces out in a large rimmed baking pan and coat with half of the coconut oil/olive oil and sprinkle with the cumin and a little bit of salt.

Roast for at least 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the pieces are lightly browned and soft. Depending on the size of the pieces and how soft and browned you want them to be, you might keep them in the oven for an hour or slightly more. Put the cooked squash in a large serving dish.

While the squash/pumpkin is roasting, heat a pot over medium-high on the stove then add the remaining oil. Let the oil heat for a minute then add the pork.

Cook for 5 minutes without turning the pork pieces so they brown, then stir the pieces and cook 3 minutes more.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. There should be just enough liquid to cover the meat, if not, add a little water. Turn the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The meat should be tender when it’s done.

Remove the lid and add the coconut milk. Raise the heat to high so the liquid boils and reduces a bit. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and pour the pork and sauce over the roasted squash.

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the sage. Fry the sage for 3-4 minutes, until it’s slightly crisp and the butter is browned.

Drizzle over the pork and squash.


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Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Yum!

    Cody wrote on October 13th, 2012
  2. Thanks; looks good! I’ll try the recipe soon. Speaking about pumpkin, it’s also becoming a good season for pumpkin soup (I’ll need to make one or two recipes primal…)

    Sebastian wrote on October 13th, 2012
  3. This looks delicious. I just got a new crock pot, so this will have to wait until I get sick of cooking everything and anything it that, though.

    Also THANK YOU for the metric measurements! Saves me a lot of time!!

    Katie wrote on October 13th, 2012
  4. I am making this tonight. Thx so much.

    Judy wrote on October 13th, 2012
  5. Looks great! Just had some butternut squash soup it was good but lacking the protein. This will be the fix.

    luke depron wrote on October 13th, 2012
  6. This recipe looks good. I have never cooked squash before but I just made Thai pumpkin soup the other day. I’ll have to try this when I have time.

    Fitness Wayne | Exercise and Paleo Diet Blog wrote on October 13th, 2012
  7. Seriously, you peel your squash? Hahahaha.

    erik wrote on October 13th, 2012
    • Yea no need to do that :)

      Onge wrote on October 14th, 2012
      • Really? You don’t have to peel butternut squash? The peel seems kinda tough to me so I’ve been peeling it… Maybe I’ll try leaving it on, sure save some time.

        Marie wrote on October 14th, 2012
  8. Wow this looks delicious!!

    Kitty =^..^= wrote on October 13th, 2012
  9. This looks delicious. Thanks! However I recommend that you don’t remove the vegetable rind because you lose an important source of vital nutrients.

    ryanthorr wrote on October 13th, 2012
  10. I have to say, I love the format for this recipe as it certainly breaks down the cooking process for those that haven’t any experience cooking real food.

    Kudos! (The dish looks delicious)

    Jasmine wrote on October 13th, 2012
  11. I made this for dinner tonight and in spite of the unusually warm weather in Boise (this recipe is a shout out to Fall),to say nothing of the eye rolling and feigned wretching regarding squash, pumpkin pie spice and pork combination — Not One Leftover. Even the dogs were falling all over themselves to lick up the last of the brown butter and sage memories.(Our pups are considered “pre-wash” on the dishwasher setting at our house.) This is an unusual combination of flavors for us (the savory with the spices we usually think of as being reserved for the sweet), but ultimately one we will revisit again and again. Delicious!

    Sasi wrote on October 13th, 2012
  12. This came just in time for me, I found some sale pork chops that needed to be cooked. I used sweet potatoes from my garden instead of squash. I also added some mushrooms and a half an onion to the meat while it was simmering. Excellent! This one goes in the “I’m making it again” file!

    John wrote on October 14th, 2012
  13. Well, I made this last night and I was impressed! Thanks MDA!

    Mike wrote on October 14th, 2012
  14. I made this tonight and it was fantastic! We will definitely be adding this to our fall/winter favorites.

    Kathleen wrote on October 14th, 2012
  15. cool! I just got 72lbs of fresh pork; thanks for a fresh new idea!

    Peggy wrote on October 15th, 2012
  16. It took some time but wow, this may be the best pork I’ve ever had.

    Brandon wrote on October 15th, 2012
  17. Very good.

    Made it this evening, will make again :)

    Onge wrote on October 16th, 2012
  18. I made this tonight for supper and it was fantastic. If I keep making meals this good my wife will want me to do all the cooking. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

    David wrote on October 16th, 2012
  19. Made this for my family. Delicious! Thank you. Will be making again :)

    Kathryn wrote on October 17th, 2012
  20. This is so scrumptious I can’t believe my tastebuds :)

    Eszter wrote on October 18th, 2012
  21. I made this last night and it was absolutely delicious!

    I used heavy cream instead of coconut milk (not a coconut fan unfortunately), pumpkin instead of the butternut squash (my grocery store was all out), and probably doubled the spices (yum!). Peeling, slicing, cleaning, and cubing the pumpkin was a little more work than I expected, but it was well worth it! Next time I’ll be using the butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

    Kelly wrote on October 18th, 2012
  22. Can’t wait to try this recipe – I like the tip about how to peel the squash!

    Louise wrote on October 19th, 2012
  23. I made this tonight with porkchops instead of cubed pork. The flavors were amazing, and I finally made a pork chop that was tender! Definitely a recipe to keep!

    LJ wrote on October 20th, 2012
  24. I made this today with chicken. Yum, yum. Perfect for Sunday dinner in rainy Stockholm!

    Maria wrote on October 21st, 2012
  25. I can say it was a tasty treat.

    Is there an easier way to do the butternut squash? Because … it was tough to cut, even after peeled!

    SassyTxn wrote on October 21st, 2012
  26. To make the squash easier to peel & cut, I usually put it whole into a pot, cover it with water, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the stove and let it sit for about 10 min. (with the lid on). It makes a huge difference.

    Kate wrote on October 21st, 2012
  27. This was amazingly good! In fact it was so good that I forgot to do the sage….oops. I ended up doing a slow braise of the pork in the oven at about 300 F for about 1-2 hours until it was meltingly tender, then after I simmered the broth down to a thick sauce added the pork back in with a bunch of sliced chard. Next time I would add even less salt, the chicken broth I used was prefab–even though it was low sodium, the finished dish was a bit salty. THe chard and squash definitely were a nice counterpoint to the very rich and flavorful pork. Very satisfying on a chilly and rainy Seattle day!

    Liza wrote on October 21st, 2012
    • oh–and I doubled the spices, used 3# of organic pork shoulder.

      Liza wrote on October 21st, 2012
  28. I made this dish yesterday and it was really tasteful. My boy friend is a chef, and I will make this dish to him tonight 😀

    Hanne Bro Jensen wrote on October 23rd, 2012
  29. Made this for dinner a couple of nights ago- OMG!!
    I used about a pound of pork as there’s only the two of us, and we literally just had the pork and squash, no other veggies, but I left the amount of spices the same. I did add more cinnamon about half way thru cooking as I thought the allspice was overpowering the other flavours a little, so maybe will use less next time.
    Didn’t bother with the sage butter as neither if us are a fan of sage to be honest.
    Must say though that it was quite a lot of meat, (like eating an 8oz pork steak each) so maybe will do less next time and serve with some nice steamed veggies, maybe some broccoli and a savoy cabbage, get the sour of the cabbage to oppose the sweet of the cinnamon. Yum!
    Having the Mediterranean Pork loin tonight, it’s been in the slow cooker all day and I’m drooling!

    The Cats Mother wrote on October 23rd, 2012
    • Can I replace the coconut milk with heavy cream or something? I live in a country bumpkin town, and don’t sell coconut milk.

      Shannon daly wrote on December 5th, 2012
  30. Wow. Really good. Would probably go for the braise at lower temp for the pork next time. Added 1/2 t of cayenne. The Sage sauce is unreal.

    Lee wrote on October 26th, 2012

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