Hard Squash

Hard Squash
We have 5 kinds of winter squash. They are all similar, but different. The squash is commonly called hard squash. They should be hard. If they are soft get another one. If you had a case you should use the softer ones first.
Hint: Place odd squash in the sink with the drainer out to keep squash still when you want to cut them up.

Acorn – Easy to recognize green maybe with an orange patch on the bottom. Acorn squash is best cooked by cutting in half, placing cut side down in a pan with water, OJ, apple juice or cider to keep it moist. Bake at 350 until baked potato soft. Flip back over and add butter and brown sugar or maple syrup. Other ideas include apples, applesauce, curried fruit. Usually we give each person their own half. The biggest challenge is to eat the most squash with a bit of butter in each bite and not break through the skin.

Butternut – Tan/ orange long with a slightly larger bottom. Look for ones with a thick stem. You get more meat and less seeds.
Butternut can be cooked in several ways. Cut in half or in chunks, take out the seeds. Bake it at 350. They can be cut in large chunks and boiled or steamed. Then mashed or put into soups.

Sweet Dumpling – pumpkin-like in shape, green with white. Core these like a baked apple and stuff or after cooking serve with a heavy stew in them. They are also good like the acorn.

Delicata – Oval Yellow with green stripes. Stufing squash

Buttercup – Green roundish shape with a flat top and a button on the bottom. Bake at 350 until soft. When finished use for mashed squash or soup. Dryer than the butternut. A meatier and heartier flavor but no fiber.

Kabocha – green dimpled squash sometimes with a little bit of light green stripe a very orange flesh. This one is similar to the Buttercup but is a little flakier flesh.

Recipes

Butternut Squash Soup – (CSA)
Makes 10 cups
4 pounds butternut squash or other winter squash, such as Kabocha, Preservation or Hubbard
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Coarse salt
1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Roast Squash and Tomato Soup with Rouille Croutons
1 chunk of a winter squash (e.g. onion squash, red kuri, crown prince or pumpkin) approximately 11⁄2 to 2lbs in weight
450g (1lb) good tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.2 litres (2 pints) vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper

Crouton Ingredients
1 small pinch saffron strands
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
85 ml (3 fl oz) sunflower oil
60 ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
salt
12 thin slices baguette, or pieces of good quality bread cut to size
Preparation Instructions
Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7. Put all the ingredients for the soup, except the stock, into a roasting tin. Turn with your hands, so that everything is coated in oil. Roast, uncovered, for approximately 45 minutes, turning occasionally, until everything is very tender. Discard the herb stalks. Scrape the rest into the liquidiser (in two batches if necessary) and liquidise with the stock. Pour into a large pan and taste and adjust the seasoning.
While the vegetables are cooking, make the rouille. Soak the saffron in a tablespoon of warm water to release the colour. Pound the garlic, chilli, and a good pinch of salt to a paste in a mortar. Work in the egg yolk and vinegar. Mix the two oils together, then start dripping them into the egg yolk mixture, whisking it constantly. When about one third of the oil is incorporated, you can increase the flow to a slow but steady trickle. Once the oil is all used up, stir in the saffron. Taste and adjust seasonings, which should be on the punchy side.
Brush the slices of French bread with a little extra oil, and arrange on a baking tray. Bake until golden, at the same temperature as the vegetables, turning them once – around 5 minutes, so keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t burn. Once they are done, pile into a bowl and keep warm.

To serve, reheat the soup and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls, and pass the croutons, the rouille, and the grated cheese around separately for everyone to help themselves, floating coutons smeared liberally with rouille in their bowls of steaming soup and finishing with a flurry of grated cheese.

Sophie Grigson ‘Herbs’ and ‘The Complete Sophie Grigson Cookbook’
We have 5 kinds of winter squash. They are all similar, but different. The squash is commonly called hard squash. They should be hard. If they are soft get another one. If you had a case you should use the softer ones first.
Hint: Place odd squash in the sink with the drainer out to keep squash still when you want to cut them up.

Baked Squash
The main way to cook the first three is to cut them in half, bake in a baking pan with water orange juice, apple juice or cider in the bottom, cut side down. It will take approximately 40 min. About the same time as a large baked potato. When you turn one over, stick it with a fork and it is soft like a baked potato, it is finished. Dump the liquid, place back in the pan cut side up with a little butter and maple syrup or brown sugar. Place back in the oven until the two melt. Each person gets a half and the trick is to get the most flesh out and still have a drop of the butter with each bite. Making sure not to break a hole in the side of your “boat.”

This method is great for the delacata or the acorn. The delicata does not have a lot of flesh, so therefore, it would take too much effort to make soup. Other choices for stuffing these squash would be apples, applesauce, curried fruit.

The sweet dumpling is similar to the acorn and delicata but it sits the wrong way. I like these to serve soup or stew. Cut the top off like a pumpkin and stuff cook and eat. If you cook them in muffin tins or ramekins they do not fall over. These tend to be larger than the acorn and a bit heavier/drier.

Butternut and kabocha are both much drier. They make wonderful soups because you are adding a liquid anyway, and their flavor does not get lost. You can cut into chunks, steam, bake, microwave, or boil. Then follow the recipe for the soup. Here is how I choose which of the cooking methods to use.

How much time before dinner?
15 min- boil
20 min-steam but remember this takes 2 pieces to clean.
45+-min bake

Sometimes I bake the whole squash the night before so there is plenty of time to make soup the next day. Make sure that if you use the microwave or the oven to bake a whole squash, you must poke it several times with a fork or knife. They do explode without these holes to release the steam.
The squash keep in a cool dry place -virtually all winter. So if you don’t use it right away keep it until you are ready.

Try all the squash. Try them all cooked in the same way and you will develop a better understanding of squash and how to use it. Changing a squash can change the flavor of a soup. You may decide that kabocha is the only way to go even thought the recipe calls for butternut

Spicy Butternut Squash and Orange Relish
Recipe from Ellen
six 4 by 1-inch strips of orange zest removed with a vegetable peeler
a 1 1/2 lb butternut squash
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (I use this amount for double the recipe)
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3 navel oranges
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 scalion, minced
Chop zest fine and in a small saucepan blanch in boiling water 1 minute. Drain zest in a fine sieve. Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds, Peel squash and cut into a 1/2 inch dice. In a small saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil with the red pepper flkes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add squash and zest and simmer covered 5 minutes, or until squash is tender (but not too soft). Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool. With a serrated knife, cut peel and pith from the orange and working over the bowl of squash, cut orang esections free from the membrane letting the sections drop into the squash mixture and squeezing excess juice from the membrane into the mixture. Stir vinegar into relish. Relish may be prepared up to this point 1 week ahead and chilled covered. With a slotted spoon transfer relish to a serving bowl and stir in scallion. Serve relish chilled or room temperature with poultry or lamb. Makes about 4 cups

8 Replies to “Hard Squash”

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