Like its summer cousins, winter squash was introduced to
early settlers by the Native Americans. It is a good source
of complex vegetable carbohydrates and dietary fiber, as
well as being an excellent source of vitamins A, B1, B3, B6,
B5, C, K and manganese, folate, copper. It's rich in niacin,
iron and beta carotene. It comes in many varities, with acorn,
butternut, spaghetti, Delicata and Scarlet Kabocha being some
of the favorites. Since it stores well, you can enjoy the deliciousness
of fresh squash well into the winter season.
Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup apple juice
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup light cream or half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour until well blended and bubbly. Gradually stir in the chicken broth and apple juice. Increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to simmer. Add the squash and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until squash is tender.
Working with two or three batches, carefully puree the hot mixture in a blender until smooth. Put the mixture over low heat and add the nutmeg and cream. Add salt, to taste.
Bold and Spicy Beans with Winter Squash and Apples
1 medium winter squash, about 2 1/2 pounds
2 large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, diced
2 medium sweet onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 to 16 ounces spicy sausage, such as andouille or other smoked sausage, thinly sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cans (22 to 28 ounces) bold and spicy baked beans (I used Bush's Grillin' Beans, Steakhouse)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) baby lima beans or lima beans, drained
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 to 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, or to taste (depends on the flavor in your baked beans)
Heat oven to 375°.
Peel the squash, slice in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes. Combine the squash, apples, and onions in a large bag or bowl. Toss with cinnamon, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of salt, then toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread on a large jelly roll pan or roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender.
In a large Dutch oven or large saucepan, brown the sausage in 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the baked beans, brown sugar, lima beans, black beans, and barbecue sauce, if using. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the squash, apple, and onion mixture and gently stir to combine. Heat through. Serve with cornbread.
Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash Rings
2 medium acorn squash, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
salt and pepper
3/4 cup apple juice
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
Line a large baking pan -- such as a large jelly roll pan or two smaller pans -- with foil; lightly grease or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Heat oven to 350°.
Slice the squash into 1/2 to 1-inch rounds. Cut centers out of each squash slice with a knife or a biscuit cutter about the size of the seed area.
Arrange slices on the baking sheet, overlapping slightly if necessary. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and pour apple juice over the rings. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or just until the squash rings are tender.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and butter. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Spoon the mixture over the squash and continue baking, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until squash rings are tender.
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