In case you've never tried to cook winter squash, it couldn't be simpler: Cut in half with a big sharp knife. Remove seeds. (If you've ever carved a pumpkin, these two steps should be very familiar.) Put in a baking pan (I use glass, metal or ceramic would also work) cut side down, with a little water in the pan. Or rub the cut side with a little oil first. Bake in a medium oven (325, or 350, or 400, etc.) until it's easily pierced with a fork. Remove, and eat. Possible toppings: many like maple syrup, I like salt and pepper. I've also added my cut, seeded halves of winter squash to the crockpot with some water, and let it cook that way for a few hours. This method works especially well when all you want is the cooked flesh to puree for a soup or other dish.
Pumpkin or Winter Squash Puree, fr. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.
Easy, versatile and useful, leftovers can fill ravioli, turn into a soup, or be added to muffins, breads, biscuits, and waffles.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Halve, seed, and bake 3 pounds pumpkin or winter squash until tender, approx. 30 - 40 mins. Scrape the flesh away from the skin, then beat until smooth with a large wooden spoon This should be easy unless the squash is stringy, in which case, use a food processor or food mill. Stir in butter to taste and season with salt and pepper. Makes about 2 cups. To enrich the puree, grate Gruyére , Fountain, or Emmenthaler into it. Flavor with extra virgin olive oil, or dark sesame oil, or mix in sautéed onions.
Julia's winter squash/pumpkin preparations, fr. Two Small Farms website
I put cut up pieces (large ones) already seeded into my crock pot for 2 or so hours on high. When a fork can easily pierce the squash/pumpkin pieces, I remove it and scrape the flesh into my food processor and whirl a bit. Then I freeze in 1 and 2 cup increments. Soup and pie are obvious and delicious choices, I also put 1 cup of this puree into nearly every batch of muffins, waffles, cookies, pancakes, biscuits etc. that I make. I just take an existing recipe and add my cup of squash puree. It nearly always works, and my kids are none the wiser.
Cut the squash in a half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Place
face down on a pan coated with olive for twenty minutes at 375 F.
Remove, flip and replace in oven for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
The squash is done when totally soft and the edges are slightly browned.
For a sweet treat, put a dab of butter and brown sugar in the upward facing cavity and bake it in for a couple of minutes. If you prefer savory, smother in thyme infused melted butter. Yummy!
Creamy Delicata Soup
Chop one onion and a few cloves of garlic, (celery too, if you still have it from last week) sauté in large sauce pan/soup pot with butter or vegetable oil until onions are translucent. Add a pint of vegetable stock and the delicata squash puree (see the above prep- Julia’s or Deborah’s) and bring to a boil. Add some cream at the end for creaminess. Add a smoked pepper or a jalapeno at the beginning for a spicy soup. Add black or white beans with the squash puree to make it extra hearty. Season with salt and pepper and serve with bread. Hmmmm! Thank you for the autumn harvest.
Winter Squash Gratin, adapted from The Greens Cookbook by D. Madison and E. Brown
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
sugar, if necessary|
1 butternut winter squash, weighing 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
4 ounces Fontina or Gruyere cheese, sliced
Freshly chopped parsley
Heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and
a little salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until
the onion is soft; then add the wine and let it reduce by half. Add
the cayenne or paprika and the tomatoes. Cook slowly for 25 minutes,
stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick. Taste, add a pinch
of sugar if the tomatoes are tart, and season with the salt and freshly
ground black pepper.
While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare the squash. Cut it open, scoop our the seeds and strings, and then, with the flat cut surface resting on the counter, shave off the skin. (The butternut can easily be peeled with a vegetable peeler before it is cut in half. Another method is to cut the squash into pieces and then remove the skin from each piece. This takes more time, but you may find it easier.
Slice the peeled squash into large pieces about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Heat enough oil to generously coat the bottom of a large skillet, and fry the squash on both sides, so that it is browned and just tender. Remove it to some toweling to drain; then season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To form the gratin, put a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce on the bottom of individual gratin dishes, or use it all to cover the bottom of one large dish. Lay the squash on top in overlapping layers with slices of the cheese interspersed between th layers. Bake until the cheese is melted and the gratin is hot, about 15 minutes, and serve with the fresh parsley scattered over the surface.
Curried Mushroom & Squash Soup
(p. 12 in the original Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen)
At least one and one-half hours to prepare & simmer 4-5 servings
2 medium butternut or acorn squash
2-1/2 cups water or stock
1 c. orange juice
2 Tbl. butter
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 medium clove crushed garlic
6 oz. mushrooms, sliced1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
a few dashes cayenne
optional: fresh lemon juice
garnishes: chopped, toasted, almonds yogurt
Split the squash lengthwise and bake face-down in a 375s oven on
an oiled tray, 30 minutes or until quite soft. Cook and scoop out
the insides. You'll need about 3 cups worth. Put it in the blender
with the water or stock and puree until smooth. Combine in a kettle
or saucepan with the orange juice.
Heat the butter in a skillet and add the garlic, onion, salt and spices. Saute until the onion is very soft. (You may need to add a little water if it sticks). Add mushrooms, cover and cook 10 minutes.
Add the saute to the squash, scraping the skillet well to salvage all the good stuff. Heat everything together very gently. Taste to correct seasoning. Since this is a fairly sweet soup, you may want to spruce it up with some fresh lemon juice.
Serve topped with yogurt and chopped, toasted almonds. (Note: this soup need not be served immediately. Simmer a while, and the flavors can mature.)