Friday, November 9, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash

Winter squashes make great additions to our diets during the fall and winter, because they're so naturally good for us & also very easy to prepare at home.  Produce aisles at farmers markets change dramatically this time of year, but rest assured, everything is highly delicious, nutritious and wonderfully pleasing.  Acorn squashes can be cooked any number of ways from steaming, braising & boiling, to roasting & pan frying.  At my home I try to roast as much as I can when the temperatures dip outside, sometimes combining a roasted vegetable with a roasted main course to make things easier for me.  Let's be honest, these types of suppers are comforting for a lot of us during the season.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Packed with vitamins A, B6 & C, this winter squash is also rich in potassium, folate & fiber.  They're best suited for roasting in halves or in wedges flavored with some fresh herbs and a little drizzle of olive oil, along with a sprinkling of salt & pepper, but they can also be roasted without anything added.  I find that cooking acorn squashes in this manner greatly enhances their flavor and concentrates their natural sweetness, making them perfect to enjoy as is or in purees.  Depending on my mood and what I happen to have on hand in the refrigerator or pantry, I will sometimes opt for a light lunch with the acorn squash as the actual entree.  Half of a roasted acorn squash can be accompanied with any number of sides, along with a tasty salad for a most delicious meal.  Try some sauteed mushrooms or perhaps some nutritious kale or collard greens to go with it. 

Roasting these squashes is as simple as 1,2,3!

Preheat your oven to 400° F (204°C)
Place racks in the lower part of the oven.

Slice the acorn squashes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds & fibers.  Clean out the cavity well.  I'm not sure where I read this or where I happened to see it, but it seems that ice cream scoops with release mechanisms make great tools for scooping out any type of winter squash. 

Place the halves cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with either parchment or a silpat. 

Note: One half of an acorn squash makes one serving.  A whole acorn squash will make approximately 1 cup of puree.

The flesh is a bright yellow-orange that is flavorful and juicy. 

Pop the baking sheet in the oven and roast the squashes for 30-40 minutes.


When done, a chef's knife will easily go through the squashes. 


I love eating acorn squash with a little bit of butter and a sprinkling of salt & pepper.  Delicious!



For a much heartier meal you can certainly stuff & fill the squashes with any type of grain.  Try it with a rice pilaf, wheat berries, barley, orzo or even some quinoa.  For those of you with babies who are at the stage when solid foods are appropriate, why not try a puree of roasted acorn squash without any additions?  Adults can also enjoy a puree of acorn squash with some butter or some extra virgin olive oil as a side dish, instead of the usual mashed potatoes.  This type of puree can also be incorporated into a most delicious seasonal soup if you wish.  For my next post I'll be showing you one such soup that's downright tasty and especially satisfying.  Treat yourselves to some Roasted Acorn Squash today!

4 comments:

  1. Looks good, have you ever tried serving soup in the actual half? It would make a good bowl.

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  2. Acorn squashes DO make a good vessel for soup. The only trouble is keeping them upright & level. That can easily be accomplished if you slice them crosswise and give them a level footing by cutting off a bit of the bottom.

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  3. Beautiful and good for you... two things i love about squash the most! It's sad that most people avoid them for the intimidation they feel in preparing squash because there's really nothing to it. Yes, they look odd and scary like dinosaurs, but they are really more like kittens! Healthy for you kittens - ha!

    Another masterpiece post, David - thank you!

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  4. Ha! Like kittens indeed. Yes, these small squashes may seem a bit odd when you see them at the market, but I totally agree with you, there is nothing to them.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    David

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