Enjoy winter squash during fall dinners

This seasonal fruit is easy to prepare for a variety of tasty family meals when the weather turns colder

From butternut to acorn, winter squash offers a variety of traditional and creative options for family meals.

It differs from summer squash in that it is harvested and eaten in the mature fruit stage when the seeds within have matured fully and the skin has hardened into a tough rind.

Winter squash is harvested whenever the fruits have turned a deep, solid color and the skin is hard. Most winter squash is harvested in September or October, before the danger of heavy frosts.    

At this stage, most varieties of this fruit can be stored for use during the winter. Winter squash is generally cooked before being eaten and the skin or rind is not usually eaten as it is with summer squash.

In New Zealand and Australia, the term “pumpkin” generally refers to the broader category called “winter squash” elsewhere.

Winter squash is a low-calorie food and a good source of complex vegetable carbohydrates and fiber.

It is an excellent source of vitamin A, a great source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese, and a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, and other vitamins. It is also a source of iron.

Usually, the darker the skin has a higher amount of beta-carotene.

Winter squash becomes tender and sweeter when roasted, and it makes for a delicious side for a holiday dinner.

Butternut squash can be stringy when under cooked, so if you’re not sure error on the side of overcooking.

Douse squash in lots of oil and let it slow roast until it is golden.

Following are some recipes from epicurious.com.

 

Slow-Cooked Winter Squash with Sage and Thyme

1 lb. delicata or acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 head of garlic
2 sprigs sage
2 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

    Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
    Toss squash, garlic, sage, thyme, oil and salt in a shallow 2-quart baking dish to combine.
    Turn garlic cut side down, then roast vegetables for about 60 to 70 minutes, tossing two or three times, until golden brown, tender, edges and cut sides are crisp. Add vinegar and toss to coat.

 

Sheet-Pan Roasted Squash and Feta Salad

1 large or 2 small acorn or delicata squash (about 1-1/2 lb. total), halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
4 slices country bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1/2 lb. Greek feta, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 head of radicchio or 1/2 head of escarole, leaves seperated, torn into large pieces
Aleppo-style pepper (for serving; optional)

    Arrange a rack in the top third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  
    Toss squash, pepper, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 1 tsp. salt on an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet and arrange in an even layer.
    Roast until squash is beginning to brown on one side, about 10 to 15 minutes.
    Turn squash, then arrange bread and feta over.
    Roast until bread is lightly toasted and feta is soft and warmed through, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    Whisk vinegar, honey, thyme and remaining 6 Tbsp. oil and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl until well combined.
    Add radicchio and hot squash mixture and toss to combine.
    Transfer to platter and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper.
    

Kale and Wild Rice-Stuffed Winter Squash

Extra-virgin olive oil
2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup wild rice
1 shallot, chopped fine
6 Tuscan kale leaves, ribs removed and leaves chopped fine
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp. grated Pecorino Romano

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    Rub a bit of oil inside the squash and season with salt and pepper.
    Place the acorn squash cut sides down on a baking sheet.
    Bake until tender, about 35 to 40 minuets.
    In a medium sauce pan, combine the rice, 1 3/4 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
    Swirl a bit of oil in a medium skillet and heat it over medium heat until shimmering.
    Add the shallot and saute until softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
    Add the kale and saute just until the leaves begin to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.
    Season with salt and pepper.
    Add the cooked rice, Dijon and lemon zest and stir to mix well.
    Cook for 2 more minutes, adding some oil if the rice seems too dry.
    Stir parsley, walnuts and Pecorino Romano.
    Remove the squash from the oven. Spoon the rice filling into each half and serve hot.

 

Winter Squash with Spiced Butter

Spiced butter:
1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. crushed dried rose petal (optional)
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt

    Spiced butter can be made one week before. Roll into logs, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate.
    Mix all ingredients except salt in a small bowl until lime juice is incorporated. Season with salt.
    Cover and keep in a cool place.
    
Squash:
4 lb. assorted winter squash, such as acorn, kabocha or delicata
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

    Trim ends of acorn and kabocha squash  and cut in half through the stem end.
    Scrape out seeds and place squash cut side down on a cutting board (do not peel). Cut halves crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
    If using delicata squash, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch rings; cut our seeds.
    Fill a large wide pot with water to a depth of 1/2-inch and add a pinch of salt; bring to a boil.
    Add squash slices and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and steam, adding more water as needed to maintain 1/2-inch of water at bottom of pot until squash is tender but not falling apart, about 25 minutes.
    Carefully transfer squash slices to a larger platter and season with salt.
    Reduce water in pot over high heat or add hot water to measure 3/4 cup.
    Remove from heat and whisk in spiced butter, 1 Tbsp. at a time to form a rich and glossy sauce.
    Season to taste with salt and drizzle spiced butter over squash. Top with pomegranate seeds.

 

Beef and Squash Chili

1 dried ancho chile
1 dried pasta chile
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 large white onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 12-ounce bottle lager
1/2 acorn squash, scrubbed, sliced into thin wedges, then into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Sour cream
Chopped avocado
Sliced red onion (for serving)

    Toast chiles in a dry small skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally and pressing down to help them make contact with the pan until darkend with color and beginning to soften, about 3 minutes.
    Transfer to a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Let sit to soften for 30 minutes. Drain and remove seeds and stems.
    Puree chiles and broth in a blender  until smooth for about 1 minute.
    Once chiles have soaked for 10 minutes,

 

 

 

    
 

 

 

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