Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall Cooking: What to do with a butternut squash?

My sisters and I love to cook so when my Richmond sister married a guy from Colorado who also loved to cook, he fit right in. Jon regularly adds dishes to family get-togethers, or grills some delicious outdoor fare, or whips up new recipes.

This morning he sent a recipe for cooking butternut squash in a humorous email that made me laugh as I read it -- I've never cooked butternut squash -- so asked if I could share it on my blog complete with his commentary. With his permission, here it is for those who like recipes (especially all those homeschool moms out there).

Jon's Fall Butternut Squash
by Jon Phillips

Jon says, "What happens when you decide to buy a butternut squash for no particular reason? Use this for a fall-ish dinner side dish instead of potatoes!"  

You’ll need: 1 butternut squash, olive oil, pumpkin pie spice,* salt and pepper

Preparation: First off, getting the skin off of the beast is like whittling the bark off of a log. Thankfully, the bark is not too thick. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the rind. Cut the ends off of the squash, then cut in half both directions. Remove the seeds and the softish stuff around the seeds, then chop into 1” squares.

Place the chopped-up squash into a 9x11 baking pan with a little sprinkling of salt and cover tightly. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add the baked squash in a single layer. Unless you have a giant skillet, you will have leftover baked squash chunks. No worries, we can deal with those in the morning.

After you have the squash sizzling in the olive oil, sprinkle some pumpkin pie spice* on the squash and some salt and pepper (a little cayenne would probably be a good addition). Don’t be too heavy-handed with the pumpkin pie spice ... we are not trying to make a pie here. Cook the chunks until browned and slightly crispy on all sides.

Serve with roasted chicken or pork chops or whatever. (This was perfect with leftover roasted chicken from the store.)

Jon adds, "Now for the leftover Squash chunks...."

Jon's Butternut Squash Breakfast Hash Browns
Don’t be scared, this is really good!

Stuff to have: 1 butternut squash, tart green apple, 1 fresh green chile, onion, bacon, salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice.

Preparation: Cook some bacon until crispy.

While the bacon is cooking; dice up some of the squash (1/4” - 3/8” cubes). Dice some onion and one green chile. The ratio should be about 2-to-1 squash to onion. Also dice up a half of a green tart apple. Drain the bacon on paper towel and drain off most of the grease.

In the same pan you used for the bacon, saute the onion and chile until soft. Add the diced squash and apple. Add salt and pepper, cook until brown and crispy (it should look like hash browns).

Add in 2 slices of crumbled bacon. Serve with eggs. WOW!

*Homemade pumpkin pie spice:
Much better than premixed and you probably already have everything. 4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon, 3 teaspoons ground nutmeg, 3 teaspoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons allspice, 2 teaspoons ground clove. Mix together in an airtight container and store with other spices.

"Two Gourds Up" review from my sister: "The crazy breakfast 'hash' was delish! I was totally leery when he told me about it. It was better than the squash last night (which was good) . I give it 'two gourds up.' "

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