Squash. That is what this post is about. I’m not trying to squash Halloween or its importance, but after all a pumpkin is a squash. But then squash is also a game and a drink and squashing can put down a rebellion. But I don’t see any rebellions right now. So it is that it seems a good day to celebrate the squash. Be it acorn, spaghetti or kabocha; butternut, hubbard, delicata or turban. And I could go on because there are a lot of squashes to regale you about.
Let’s just say that eating a squash is a good thing. I’ve always loved squash even when it came in little white boxes that were kept hidden in the freezer. These were then, without ceremony, dumped into a pot where they thawed and then were seasoned with margarine, dried chives and salt. Well, at least they were at 1054 S. Wildwood. I loved that dish that my mother “made” every fall. She then moved on to buying real acorn squash, which she cut into little rings and served roasted with butter and brown sugar.
It doesn’t take a lot to make squash taste good. Really, it doesn’t. Squash is good without a lot of extras and for that I applaud the squash; bearer of goodness and simplicity. We all need more of that in our life! Squash is moving into the markets and from what I’ve seen it has been a banner year. I love looking at the different colors and shapes and always go way overboard to find the right one. Which of course I then cut up and eat! I really know how to squash the squash!
Whole Foods has a ton of them and lots of other great fall produce. It is time to celebrate fall and start thinking Thanksgiving. After all it wouldn’t be a holiday without squash on my table. Yes, usually it is in the form of pie, but that is only because the sweet potato is so ugly that I felt sorry for it! Truthfully I love a change from potatoes-and I love potatoes-but squash gives me a reason to get some extra health into my diet. It is full of Vitamin C and A and tons of fiber. If you really want the skinny read more here.
Squash can be doctored up in so many ways, but I’m giving you the simple version. Much like what my mom used to do; only better. Sorry, Mom! I like to steam my squash in the oven which makes it much easier to mash. Just cut that bad boy straight down vertically, through the center. (Be careful and don’t cut yourself!) Scoop out the seeds. If you want roast the seeds, because all squash seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds. In a large shallow pan, with not even a 1/2 inch of water, turn those halves over with the cut side down. Now stick in the oven at 350 and bake until the squash is of desired doneness. How to tell? Just stick a fork in it! If it is soft, then your squash is done. I did this with a kabocha squash and it took about 45 minutes.
Now on to the recipe, if I can even call it that! And if you need a few more and want to see some examples of different squashes, check out the Whole Foods site. Now go get squashin’!
Squash with Browned Butter and Sage
Time to Make: About 20 minutes prep and time to cook the squash
4 c of your favorite squash, steamed and baked as above
1/3 c of fresh sage leaves
4 T of butter
2-4 T of chives
3/4 to 1 c chicken broth or heavy cream or a mixture (I used the broth. :()
1 t salt or to taste
some fresh grindings of nutmeg – optional
Various garnishes that appeal to you: Crisp bacon, chives, sage, pomegranate seeds, maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, green onions. toasted walnuts or pecans, or even peanuts, fried onion strings, chipotle chilies, etc.)
Steam and bake squash as above. I ended up with 4 cups, so adjust accordingly. It is very hard to make this “wrong.” Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat. Add sage leaves and try to keep them flat. You may have to flip them, but they will turn brown and crispy as the butter turns brown. Butter will start to sizzle. When it is brown, it will stop. Do not let it burn!Take sage leaves from skillet as they brown. (I could eat these all, sprinkled with a touch of salt.) Turn heat down to medium low. Scoop squash from skin, place in skillet and mash gently. Now using an immersion blender, puree the squash and browned butter together. Slowly mix in the broth or cream or both. Add salt, sage leaves and chives or whatever flavors you prefer. Mix together until warm. Garnish with your favorites!
P.S. This is great made ahead and warmed in the microwave. It saves on oven space for Thanksgiving!
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