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eG Cook-Off #71: Winter Squash


David Ross
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Do you use it in recipes?  I bet it would be delicious on bread and maybe worked into a sauce of some kind.

I just had some on toast for a taste test (I put a pic on the instant pot thread).  I am going to use it in cinnamon rolls.  I think it will be good.

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Last night I had time to stuff and cook carnival squash for a one-pot dinner.  Here are most of the elements:

 

Carnival squash ingredients.jpg

 

The squash, ground turkey, onion, garlic, oven-roasted tomatoes in olive oil, and cheese.  Grated parmesan is shown in the photo, but I also used small dices of mozzarella.  The turkey...ah now, I thought I had chorizo or spicy Italian sausage, but I didn't.  I seasoned the turkey heavily with a generous amount of Italian spices, hot paprika, smoked paprika, and a touch of garlic salt.  The diced onion, diced tomatoes, some garlic and bread crumbs all went together into the squash cavities.

 

Carnival squash ready to cook.jpg

 

This is the first time I've tried microwaving the squash to get it going, and I think it was a good idea...as in, I should have done it more to hustle things along given the hour. The squash shows a bit of softening in this pre-roast photo, but I should have cooked it maybe 20 minutes instead of the 10 I gave it.  All told it took the stuffed squash about an hour at 415F (according to the convection oven setting, which may be way off) before it was fully cooked, and at some point I turned the heat down to keep from overcooking the meat.

 

Carnival squash mostly cooked.jpg

 

The cheese topping went on when everything was nearly done, then returned to the oven until everything was really done:

 

Carnival squash topped.jpg

 

 

Ready to serve.

 

Carnival squash ready to eat.jpg

 

The camera card filled up before I could take a picture of the resulting layers, but the mix is very pretty when you cut into the squash, and the flavors were excellent.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Years ago, we had a "gourmet" tamale vendor at the Farmers Market, and one of his tamale specialties was pumpkin and ricotta cheese. I have done that, rather than tamales, in egg-roll wrappers, filled and just folded over and the edges crimped, then pan-fried in a half-inch or so of peanut oil and sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon sugar. Quite tasty when eaten hot; don't know why I haven't done that lately.

 

Ran across a recipe for a baked pie pumpkin (or other small pumpkin) with cornbread and sausage stuffing. That sounds pretty interesting to me; I think I must try it.

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Smithy those stuffed squash look quite delicious.  And kayb, I was thinking of doing something just like the tamales you described.  I was thinking of a fried empanada filled with pumpkin. I've already got two other winter squash dishes coming so I'll put the empanadas on the list. 

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Roasted pumpkin, bacon and baby spinach risotto.

Served with a mixed salad and crusty bread.

In Australia we call this Kent pumpkin, it's some kind of winter squash anyway.

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I roast bite size pieces of pumpkin that have been drizzled with EVOO chopped fresh rosemary and seasoned with salt and pepper.

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For the risotto, I fry sliced bacon until crispy, remove to drain on paper towels, then fry diced onion in olive oil and butter until soft, add crushed garlic, then add arborio rice and stir to coat the grains. A glass of white wine goes in to sizzle, then in the usual risotto method I add hot vegetable stock a ladle at a time. I season along the way.

When the rice is al dente I add the pumpkin, the bacon, and a big handful of baby spinach leaves. To finish, lots of butter and parmesan cheese. Rest the rice for 5 minutes.

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The salad.

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The risotto keeps well for lunch the next day too.

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Last night I did a duck breast with sautéed chard and roasted pumpkin.  Sorry, I didn't get a photo of the pumpkin, but it was labeled "sugar pie" and had an intense orange skin and deep orange flesh.  After roasting the squash I pureed it and added some curry powder, garlic, ginger, curry powder and some mustard oil.  (I buy the mustard oil at the local Asian store).  Then heated the pumpkin puree in the oven and garnished with toasted hazelnuts. Curry works so incredibly well with winter squash.  With a brown sugar streusel topping this would be a different twist on candied yams for Thanksgiving.

 

Sauteed the chard in olive oil, some ginger, garlic, and a bit more of the mustard oil and a douse of apple cider vinegar. 

 

The duck was based on a recipe from LA Chef Ludo Lefebvre that is featured in the October issue of Food and Wine, "Spiced Duck a' l'Orange."  It really isn't close to classic, but Chefs like to toy with classic descriptions but with a new twist.  The sauce worked incredibly well with the rich duck meat and the fall flavors of the winter squash puree.  (And I've got a new kitchen "secret" ingredient in orange blossom water). 

 

The sauce is a reduction of honey, orange juice, chicken stock, apple cider vinegar, ras el hanout spices (I used curry powder) and then a few knobs of butter to finish. 

 

Duck Breast with Spiced Orange Sauce, Sauteed Chard and Roasted Sugar Pie Pumpkin with Curry Spices.  (My friends would laugh if I gave them that description.  To them it's duck with sauce, fried greens and pumpkin).

 

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Crisp skin and moist medium-rare meat. A simple stir-fry of roasted, cubed pumpkin would also be delicious with the duck and greens.

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Just a quick note on a squash variety that was new to me until this past summer. While in the Comox Valley, I saw some locally grown Gem squash. They are a perfect size for one or two portions and very tasty. Our tenant is from South Africa and says it was his fave vegetable growing up. I cooked them a couple of times and really enjoyed them.

 

http://www.cooksister.com/2010/10/gem-squash-central-finding-them-growing-them-and-eating-them.html

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Just a quick note on a squash variety that was new to me until this past summer. While in the Comox Valley, I saw some locally grown Gem squash. They are a perfect size for one or two portions and very tasty. Our tenant is from South Africa and says it was his fave vegetable growing up. I cooked them a couple of times and really enjoyed them.

 

http://www.cooksister.com/2010/10/gem-squash-central-finding-them-growing-them-and-eating-them.html

We grew these one year with some success as in we harvested a few, not a lot. My SIL who lives in these parts also grew some with more success as she is on a small farm and could plant them in full sun. They are delicious.

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Butternut squash and sage fritters

 

IMG_0775.JPG

 

A successful experiment from a new vegetarian cookbook I picked up recently, The Vibrant Table by Anya Kassoff.  Her recipes offer really interesting flavor combinations, I’m looking forward to playing around with this book.

 

This one: grated butternut squash with some sautéed onion, garlic, and herbs. I like the strong flavor of sage but she also suggests mint and/or dill as substitutes. Bound by an egg, almond flour, and a small amount of feta cheese. While I think the nut flour is there to make the recipe gluten-free, it also adds a nice bit of sweetness. Smoked paprika and nutmeg add depth of flavor. And they’re baked, not fried.

 

Best of all, they are absolutely delicious. They made a great light supper with a green salad. They would also be a terrific side dish to poultry or pork.

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Thinking of stuffing winter squash in a sweet dough and then frying it, it seems that a regular pureed pumpkin would be too runny?  Would the mixture need some flour to add body? 

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Thinking of stuffing winter squash in a sweet dough and then frying it, it seems that a regular pureed pumpkin would be too runny?  Would the mixture need some flour to add body? 

 

david, if you decide to use flour, I was happy with the results of using nut flour in my fritters. It added flavor that really complimented the squash,  But I don't know enough about the properties of nut flours to know if they would suit your purpose.

 

Another idea would be to mix the puree with some ricotta. Really fresh ricotta is somewhat dry, so it adds body without adding much moisture. Its mild flavor won't compete with the squash. Nice with a sweet dough.

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A friend dropped off a beautiful butternut squash and I had huge ambitions for it. But it became soup with the addition of some ginger and some coconut milk. It is all packaged and ready to be given away and/or frozen. No pictures because who hasn't seen butternut squash soup.

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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I cooked the second kabocha squash of my life in the microwave in one on my treasured, old vintage, covered Corning Ware casserole dishes, as I usually do for winter squash. I really liked this one with a little butter and just salt.

 

My first one I cooked, years ago, was dry and mealy to the point no amount of butter could save it. It must have been a bad one.

 

So one more thing added to my repertoire of ingredients!  :smile:

 

This is why I never give up on something after the first try, and why I love eG for reminding me not to.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Yesterday, I noticed that one of the butternut squashes in the garage had a bad spot and another looked like it had a small breach in the skin. So I baked the two yesterday, and scooped out the flesh before I rushed off to a hockey game. I now need to figure out what to do with them. Soup would ordinarily be my go-to, but I definitely do NOT need any more squash soup in the freezer. I'm thinking I will eat some with butter and salt and maybe a little maple syrup with lunch today, and freeze the rest, unadulterated, in measured portions that will be easy to use in bread, souffle, or other things that call for squash (or sweet potato or canned pumpkin, for that matter).

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MelissaH

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MelissaH, if you like making stuffed pasta the squash can make a good filler. I found it a bit sweet on its own, but spiced with a bit of sausage or ham, it's good. It's even better with sage butter. :-)

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I've got two new winter squash possibilities.  They're from Trapold Farms in Portland.  I lost the label on the first one, but I'm sure it would be delicious in any of the dishes we've discussed so far.

 

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Then there's this cute little buggar I've never seen before, the "Amber Cup."  Not much bigger than my hand and described as "Very sweet with golden orange meat. Fine-grained. Great stuffed or baked."

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And I've got plans for this devil...............

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I think I have an "Amber Cup" or two stashed away as well! The seller couldn't remember the variety, but it looks much the same. I'll be interested in your report, David.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Now this is interesting and something I've never thought about.  Google shows me multiple recipes, some for a quick pickle where the hot brine is poured over salted and drained or briefly cooked  squash pieces and others where the squash is cooked for 20 - 40 min in the brine.  All sorts of spice and herb combinations show up.

 

Not sure I'm up for any big batches but if I find myself with some spare squash, I'm curious to give one of these methods at try.  And even more curious to hear if any one has already done it!

 

I made small pilot batches of both of the pickle methods that I linked to above using butternut squash. 

IMG_0188.jpg

 

The green topped jar in the middle is the quick refrigerator pickle with onions and dried chiles (the recipe called for pequin, I used del arbol).  The squash is cut into 1/8" slices, boiled for 2 minutes then cooled before being packed into a jar with the sliced onion and chiles and covered with the boiling brine.  These should be ready to try tomorrow.  They have just a bit of crispness to them.  This recipe only calls for 2t sugar for 12 oz of squash.

 

The jar on the left is from the other recipe that cooks 1/2" pieces of squash in a brine with a good bit of sugar and typical "warm" spices (black peppercorns, cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks and a bay leaf) until they are fork tender before packing the jars and processing.  The recipe recommends letting these cure at least 2 weeks.   

 

I also made some pickled cranberries and thought it might be pretty to pack a few berries in with the squash.  The result is the reddish looking jar to the right of the quick pickles.  The processing time for the squash recipe was 20 min and the cranberries, which had already been cooked in brine but not processed, sort of fell apart.   That was a little too much cooking for them!  

 

I'll report back later with a taste test.  

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Interesting stuff there, Bluedolphin.  I can't wait to hear how they taste.  I really like the idea of putting cranberries in there.  Very festive for the holidays.

 

I had never heard of pickled squash until David Ross mentioned it and went to Google.  Though cucumbers, melons and squash are sort of in the same family, so it makes sense.  I was looking for  something else to include in holiday gifts and figured I'd give these a try.

 

I think the cooked one has potential if the flavors mellow out over the suggested 2 week curing time.  I can see serving it with cheese or as a condiment with roast pork or poultry. 

 

Not sure about the quick one.  Although the brine is very simple so it would be easy to scale down (no counting out 2 peppercorns, 1 clove and half an allspice berry!) and just make a little with some leftover squash.  

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