Nov 5, 2015

Eat the Season


This growing trend actually makes a lot of sense! Eating fruits and vegetables in season affords you better flavor than the stuff grown halfway around the world, picked unripe and shipped across oceans. Right now is the time to take advantage of delicious squashes and pumpkin in soups and side dishes.

Butternut Squash is beige colored and shaped like a vase or a bell. It tastes somewhat similar to sweet potatoes. It has pale, creamy skin, deep-orange flesh with a sweet, nutty flavor. The darker the orange color, the riper, drier, and sweeter the squash will be.  Butternut is a common squash used in making soup because it tends not to be stringy. It can be easily substituted for pumpkin in almost any recipe as the taste and texture is similar.

 


For the seeds:

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar 


1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon water

½  teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash of ground red pepper

3/4 cup unsalted shelled pumpkin seeds

 

For the soup:

3 tablespoons light olive oil
2 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 large or 2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in chunks
1 clove garlic, crushed

1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock


Prepare the spiced seeds:

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Add seeds to sugar mixture, stirring to coat. Spread seed mixture evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes. Stir mixture; bake an additional 15 minutes. Place parchment on a wire rack; cool pumpkinseed mixture. Break into small pieces; set aside.

 

Prepare the soup:

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Next, add the apples, squash, garlic and onions and sauté until the vegetables begin to sweat and soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, ground nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Add the stock, making sure that it covers the squash; if necessary, add a little water. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer until the squash is very tender, about 30 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Serve immediately, topped with a handful of seeds

Butternut Squash Stuffing

This recipe is also a great way to use your leftover challah (we should have added it to last week’s column!)

 

1 butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into small chunks to yield about 8 cups

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

10-12 sage leaves, checked

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

5 tablespoons canola oil

2 Spanish onions, finely chopped

6 stalks celery, finely chopped

3 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

14 ounces roasted peeled chestnuts, coarsely chopped (from the bag is fine)

Leftover challah cut into 3/4-inch cubes (12 cups) and dried overnight

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh checked parsley

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with oil and sage; season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden brown and tender, flipping once, about 40 minutes. Crumble sage.

Heat canola in a large sauté pan over high. Add onions, celery, thyme, rosemary, chestnuts, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a  large bowl and add challah and squash mixture. Drizzle with stock; toss to combine. Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or reheat uncovered at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

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