I have waited all summer long, but the time is finally here…
The time for winter squash!
I love squash. Simply roasted with some butter and brown sugar, it is a simple naturally sweet and healthy side dish for you to have.
When autumn arrives, you will begin to see these all over – grocery stores, farmers markets, even flower shops and restaurants as displays (it’s an awesome way to usher in the fall because it makes for a beautiful backdrop, you can pick them up anywhere, they are a cheap way to decorate and you can eat them when you’re done).
Doesn’t get cooler than that, right?
This is an acorn squash (or a pepper squash) but you can also use a butternut. You should look for one that is relatively heavy and dark green in colour.
This is a butternut squash that I’m growing in the garden…at least I think that’s what it is!! I’ll let you know when I cut it open!!
So, pick some up…try a few different varieties while you’re at it. There are so many uses for them (a few that I’ll tell you about below).
You will be so happy you tried them!
1 butternut squash
1/4 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees; take out a large baking dish (like a 9×13″ pan).
2. Cut your squash in half and scrape out the seeds (I like to use a grapefruit spoon because the rough edges seem to scrape out all the strings nicely!).
And don’t forget to save those seeds…they can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds!
3. Place the squash flesh side down, in the baking dish and add about 1″ of water; cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes (you should be able to poke a fork in it through the skin).
4. Remove the squash from the oven and increase the oven temp to broil.
5. Meanwhile, in a small dish, mix up the butter and brown sugar.
6. Flip the 2 squash halves over and slather this mixture all over the exposed flesh.
7. Place the pan back in the oven and broil until the flesh is browned and bubbly.
8. Simply cut the pieces in half so each person gets 1/4 of each squash …nice hearty portion!
Now, if you have leftover squash, you can simply puree it in a food processor or a blender (add a bit of water to get it nice a smooth) and freeze it in Ziploc bags for another use.
What might you use them for, you ask? Well, take a look at these ideas below:
Squash Simple Syrup: just cook 1/2 roasted squash (pureed) with 1 c water, 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves and 1 c turbinado sugar until it is nice and thick. Once it’s done, remove the cinnamon and cloves and use it to drizzle over ice cream or cakes. If you add another cup of boiling water, you can use it as simple syrup to add to coffees or autumnal cocktails!
Homemade Squash Ravioli: add a spoonful of the squash to each of these egg yolk ravioli
Make a meatloaf more moist: add a few spoonfuls to your favourite meatloaf recipe
And, once you have meatloaf, you can make the best sandwiches like this meatloaf sandwich that has a slice of meatloaf crisped in a pan with some bacon fat and then placed on a spicy black olive bun with chipotle mayo, thinly sliced Asiago, fresh spinach leaves, a yolky fried egg and crispy shallots…mmmmmmmmmmm!
Make Soup: use the leftover in this Pureed Maple Bacon and Chipotle Squash Soup
Or just puree it, add some chicken stock, season it up with some salt and pepper and then freeze it like this to have on a cold wintery day!
Create an awesome Board Dinner: use it as a base in this Fish and Sweet Potato mash instead of the sweet potato
However you do it, squash is the perfect autumn veg to “fall” in love with (no pun intended!)!
Get roasting and let me know how you use your squash!!