My aunt sent me the funniest text message the other night.
It was a picture of acorn squash captioned, “What do normal people do with these?”
It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?
Clearly, they’re not as popular as pumpkin or butternut squash, which obviously dominates the season. Care for a squash latte? Spiced squash candle? Over the last few weeks, our CSA has been quite generous with their squash delivery (both acorn and carnival varieties) and as a result, we have enough to start a Bocce ball team.
This prompted me to find a solution… for normal people (whatever that is).
The Two-Step Process: Roast & Purée
Here’s the thing- acorn squash goes bad. If not stored properly (fridge or cool dark place) they’ll turn gray. This happened to me, actually. I displayed several of them in a bowl thinking they looked pretty as decorations.
Don’t do that. They looked like death after 7 days.
To avoid this, roast your squash right away. Throw them in the oven while you’re making dinner or folding laundry or whatever- cook once and be done! Roast at 400 F for about 30-45 minutes or until soft.
You’ll save on time and waste.
After roasting, you could just eat the squash as is, perhaps with a drizzle of maple syrup, butter, and salt and pepper. Delicious!
But you’ll still have leftovers, which might end up sitting in the fridge till the end of time if you don’t want to eat squash 5 nights a week with dinner.
Instead, make purée.
Simply take the roasted pieces which have been peeled and de-seeded (see kitchen notes below) and whip them in a blender. Add a splash of water if they’re moving around like glue. It might not sound riveting, but squash purée is a fantastic base for all kinds of delicious and inexpensive recipes.
Here are two examples:
1.) Whipped Acorn Squash with Creme Fraiche & Parmesan
You don’t need measurements for this. Just mix everything together, give it a taste and make adjustments as needed. The nutty, salty parmesan is particularly excellent with naturally sweet acorn squash. I keep this mixture in a little jar in the fridge, and gently re-heat to serve in a non-stick pan. Try it with grilled steak and arugula salad (we ate this last Friday night- it was awesome).
2.) Acorn Squash Soup with Kale and Croutons
For this recipe, I just added chicken stock to my creme fraiche purée (above) and threw in some shredded kale to wilt. That’s it. Oh, and stale sourdough croutons because I’m one of those ‘nomal’ people who actually has day-old bread lying around ;)
PS- you might want to file this soup idea for holiday entertaining. It would be nice for Thanksgiving…
Overall, I roasted about 4 or 5 squash and ended up with 1 quart of dense purée.
This method is frugal, time-saving and easy to achieve. Even if you’re not in the mood for squash after roasting and de-seeding, just freeze the purée until you’re feeling motivated. Then you can create a delicious meal any night of the week. I’m thinking a fall-inspired risotto on the menu soon…
- Cutting acorn squash is just as exciting as stringing Christmas lights. There is no knife on the face of this planet that can actually slice through the darn thing! If by chance you possess such culinary weaponry, send it my way. In the meantime, make sure your knife is super sharp. This sounds really obvious, but how often do you sharpen your knives? I’m guilty of this myself. Use that wand-looking thing that came with your knife set (technical term: steel) and sharpen your knives thoroughly. Otherwise, accept defeat.
- Acorn squash are riddled with seeds and stringy bits! To save time and patience, scoop them out only after the squash has been roasted. It’s much easier that way. Plus, I’m convinced the seeds and stringy bits add more flavor as indicated by their golden color once removed from the oven. You be the judge.