Fall has arrived - I picked up my last CSA box of the season. All the produce from late summer, the tomatoes, corn, and peppers are gone. We’re left with potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and winter squash.
Every year, I accumulate a few winter squash. An acorn squash from the CSA, a butternut squash from the farmers market, a pie pumpkin from the grocery store. And then…they sit. And sit. And sit some more.
How do they last so long? They’ve been cured for a couple of weeks before they get to the store, or the market, which dries them out and hardens the skin, preparing them for long term storage on my kitchen counter. They’re good for a few months if they’re bruise free and kept dry.
Months pass. Why are they still on my counter? I feel guilty every time I see them. But…cleaning squash is a hassle. That hard skin, protecting them from rot, is also a lot of work to cut. Scraping out the seeds is messy, and each squash doesn’t yield much meat. I have good intentions, but when push comes to shove, and dinner needs to get on the table, I reach for something easier to prepare.
I’ll use the squash tomorrow, I promise.
Denial is not just a river in Egypt. This post is my cry for help.
What do you do with winter squash?
How do you prep them? How do you cook them? What type do you prefer - Butternut, Acorn, or some other squash? (Delicata? Kabocha? Red Kuri? I love squash names.)
I’ll start. Here are the two lonely winter squash recipes on DadCooksDinner:
OK, as written, the second recipe uses sweet potatoes. But it’s based on the Modernist Cuisine technique for butternut squash. That counts, doesn’t it? (No?)
Like I said. I’m in Denial…
What do you think?
Squash recipes? Leave them in the comments section below. (Please!)
What do I do with: The Bok Choy issue
What do I do with: The Kohlrabi issue
What do I do with: The Asparagus Issue
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Doug McNeill says
For those as lazy as I am who dread trying to peel a hard butternut squash, toss the squash in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and peeling will be MUCH easier. Then you might use the squash for several of these great recipes.
I have two grapefruit spoons from a fruit basket we received years ago. We don't eat grapefruit, but the spoons are great for kiwi and for cleaning out the seeds/strings of squash & pumpkin!!
It would work, but use your smallest slow cooker (even a mini might work) and watch the squash so it doesn't burn. Or if you have a glass covered Pyrex dish, I'd be tempted to put a little water in the bottom, cover and microwave on 50% power until it's soft.
Dan Kelleher says
We roast sqash almost every weekend this time of year, butternut, Acorn, Spagetti, whatever is available.
Split & seed (don't peel)
add a pad of butter and 1oz REAL malple syrup to each cavity.
Wrap in foil and roast @ 350 for about an hour. or better yet cook on the grill- indirect heat
Using an oven mitt and a large spoon scoop out sqash, add salt and pepper to taste. (sometimes we use the emmersion blender to make it smooth and fancy)
Simple and much easier than the whole peel, cube, boil, mash routine (and no dirty pot)
I've been making Jamie Oliver's squash muffins for a couple years. My kids love them. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jamie-oliver/butternut-squash-muffins-with-a-frosty-top-recipe/index.html
1 Tbs. Olive oil
½ lb. Bacon cut into thin slices
1 large onion chopped
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp.
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 bay leaf
1 acorn squash seeded, peeled and
cut into ¼ inch dice
1 large russet potato peeled and
cut into ¼ inch dice
4 cups chicken stock or broth
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over
medium high heat. Add bacon slices and
cook until browned. Remove with a
slotted spoon and put on a paper towel to drain. Pour out all but 2 Tbs. of the drippings.
Add onions and cook until soft,
about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook
about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium
and add celery. Cook about 5 minutes. Add thyme, seasoning, and bay leaf. Stir about 30 seconds.
Add the squash, potatoes, chicken
stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and partially
cover. Cook for about 20 minutes.
Remove thyme and bay leaf.
With a slotted spoon remove about
1-½ cups of the vegetables. Blend
remaining soup with a emersion blender.
Add the vegetables and bacon back to the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2
minutes. Check for seasoning. Remove from heat and serve.
Makes 4 large bowls.
Mike V @ DadCooksDinner says
Thank you everyone for these great ideas!
Loving the crock pot idea. Would it work with the seeded end of a butternut? I never know what to do with that half
One of our favorite winter recipes with squash is from Cooking Light - Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta - http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-butternut-squash-bacon-pasta-10000000592277/.
Made butternut squash Ravioli last week. It was Amazing!
Peel, seed, and cut into cubes for pressure cooking. Then I mash it into a puree and freeze in small containers for whatever I to decide to do with them later, which is usually to add a cup of puree to a batter of pancake mix along with pumpkin pie spice.
I love these posts - always fun ideas in the comments.
For butternut, cube and roast along with other root veggies. Stir in some sauteed kale and top with a fried egg for a great weekend brunch. Bonus points for roasting your veg under a chicken the night before and using the leftovers for breakfast.
For acorn squash - cut in half and seed, then salt well and put a pat of butter in the cavity. Poke a tiny hole from the cavity to the bottom of the squash so excess moisture will drain during baking. Then fill with anything you'd put inside a roasted pepper and bake.
Also for acorn - seed it and slice it in rounds. Brush with melted butter and salt heavily. Grill alongside any meat, especially pork chops. We just cut the squash skin off as we're eating because we're lazy like that.
For anything huge, including pumpkin or kabocha - wash/scrub it well, whack a few holes near the stem with a heavy knife you don't mind dulling and put the entire thing in the slow cooker on low. Cook until soft.
Pull the skin open to let steam escape and dismantle once cool. It will be wickedly hot inside, so be careful! The soft flesh with be tender puree - freeze to use any way you like.
As you pull the skin and seeds off the now soft flesh, toss them back in the slow cooker with some bay leaves, s&p, maybe a star anise. Discard the stem at this point. Cover with water and cook on low ~ 12 hours for an amazing stock. Use in chili, wintry soups or along with some mushrooms and pearl onions to braise a hunk of roast beast. It will be cloudier than a meat stock, but richly flavored.
For butternut, you could also peel and grate it. Pretend it's carrot at that point, grate some parsnips as well and make your kids some Morning Glory muffins along with any apples or pears your CSA offered. Our favorite version comes from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book.
Let us know what you decide to do!
Fran Bell says
Butternut makes great pumpkin pie.
Soup! A little broth, some onions, maybe baked with an apple, a little cream...perfection.