Tuesday, November 11, 2008


There is nothing more frustrating than trying to cut through a thick-skinned winter squash. I'm sure that fingers have been lost trying to penetrate the hard skin of a Golden Nugget or Buttercup squash. But I love the orange gems so much that I have to persist. And there are so many good recipes for squash, how can I not buy them? I must tell you, though, that I balk when a recipe says to cut the raw veggie into chunks or to peel it. I submit to you that it just can't be done. At least not by me. So I am going to give you an easier way. The way I just made this recipe, not the way it was written. And I still have all my fingers. And, BTW, this is a great recipe for squash. I just love that you can make it so many ways, and each way tastes great! Winter squash is one of my all-time faves. And it doesn't hurt that it's very good for you.
Winter Squashes Sauteed with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans
Source: The Sun Journal Newspaper, New Bern, NC
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
1 cup butternut squash (This is thin-skinned and can be peeled.)
1 cup acorn squash (This is thick-skinned and will take your fingers if you're not careful.)
1 cup pumpkin (This is very thick-skinned, so beware!)
1/4 cup pecans
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tbsp. butter (or Smart Balance)
Juice of one lemon
Salt and Pepper as needed
Preheat oven to 400F. Using a sharp, heavy knife, cut squashes in half and scoop out membrane and seeds. Place squashes, cut side down on a large baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place in oven, covered with tinfoil, and bake 40-45 minutes or till tender when pierced with a fork. Remove and let cool slightly. (Any leftover squash can be used later in the week or frozen. Remember that squash is a great fat substitute in baked goods.)
Lower oven heat to 300F. Place pecans on a shallow baking pan and toast about 10 minutes, or till slightly fragrant. Chop pecans. Set aside.
Combine cranberries with boiling water. Allow them to plump for 10-15 minutes. Drain; chop coarsely; set aside.
Bring broth to a boil over high heat in a skillet. Measure 1 cup pulp from each squash and add to broth. Cook till all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Add pecans, cranberries, butter, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Continue to cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring gently to distribute all of the ingredients evenly. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings
NOTE: If you want a smaller amount, you have some options: you can make the above recipe and freeze some for later use. Or you can make the adapted version below, that I made. I used Buttercup squash and Golden Nugget, and found that Buttercup has a stronger but pleasing flavor, while Golden Nugget is mild and delicious. The two went well together, but use whatever squashes please you, because they're all great.
1 Buttercup squash
1 Golden Nugget squash
1-1/2 Tbsp. pecans
1 tsp. dried cranberries + 3 Tbsp. boiling water
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. Smart Balance
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Follow directions above. After using 1/2 cup of each squash, I had 1-1/4 cups roasted squash left over which I promptly froze and will use later. The above makes 2 servings, and is so yummy!

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