The butternut squash is a much under-appreciated, but versatile vegetable, similar to a pumpkin. In fact, in Australia it is known as butternut pumpkin. Here are some ideas for what to do with one.
Butternut Squash Soup
- One onion
- One butternut squash
- Cayenne pepper
Peel and finely slice the onion and squash (remove the fibrous part of the squash of course). Melt a large knob of butter (about a quarter of a packet if you can bear the thought of that much butter) in a large saucepan and put the onion and squash it in. Cook gently until the onion is soft, stirring to coat everything in butter. Add water to just cover, bring to boil and simmer until everything is tender. Blend it, add salt and cayenne pepper to taste, and thin with milk to whatever consistency you prefer (often you don't need to bother). Oh yes, and stir in some more butter if you care not for your cholesterol level.
You can make it more complicated (and better) by sieving after blending (improves the texture quite a lot, but is very tedious), by roasting half of the squash separately and combining that with the rest of the soup, stirring in tiny cubes of sautéed squash at the end and even a grating of raw squash to garnish it.
One researcher suggests adding bacon bones and a bit of bacon stock instead of the milk.
Butternut Squash and Bacon Soup
- One large onion
- One butternut squash
- 500g smoked bacon (rashers, lardons or 'bits')
- One carrot
- One litre of vegetable stock
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
Chop the onions and fry gently in the olive oil in a large saucepan. Chop the bacon and add to the pan (if your bacon is the supermarket type that seems to contain 50% water, you might find it better to fry it separately in batches to get it crispy). Peel and de-seed the squash, chop and add to the pan. Peel the carrot, chop and add. Add the stock, fresh ground black pepper and simmer for about 30 minutes. Mix using a hand-held blender until smooth.
Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup
- One butternut squash
- Three red peppers
- Three to six red chillis (depending on how spicy you like things!)
- Approximately 3 pints of vegetable stock1
Peel and de-seed the squash, cut the peppers in half and remove the stalk and seeds. De-seed the chillis, and then roast together in a pre- heated oven at about 190°C for 30 minutes. Mix in a blender and add stock until it is as runny as you would like.
Roasting and Baking
Butternut Squash Galette
Roast the squash with garlic and mash them both up with some cheese, herbs and onion, stick it in the middle of some pie dough, wrap the pie dough around it and bake it topped with blue cheese.
Stuffed Baked Butternut Squash
Take butternut squash, slice it down the centre and clean out the seeds. Pack the scooped-out centre with a stuffing mixture made from bread, herbs, onion and garlic. Place it downside on a buttered baking sheet and bake it.
After the squash is cooked through, turn it upright onto a platter and scoop out the squash with stuffing. Heaven.
Toasted almonds also go well in the stuffing.
Slow Roasted Butternut Squash
Take one large-ish butternut squash and split it in half, length ways. Scoop out the pulp and seeds and score the surface lightly with a diagonal pattern. Place a small amount of crushed garlic in the hollow, followed by a large amount of butter; the diagonal scoring will ensure that the butter soaks all the way in. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Place the two halves in an oven set on its lowest setting. Brush with the melted butter every half an hour or so, adding more butter as necessary. Leave in the oven for at least two hours, but preferably much longer.
To serve, scoop out the soft melted flesh and enjoy.
Butternut Squash Chilli
- One medium butternut squash - cut into large chunks (approximately 2.5cm/1" cubes)
- Three tablespoons of olive oil
- One can of hominy2
- One onion - finely chopped
- Five cloves of garlic - minced
- One green bell pepper - finely chopped
- One to five jalapeño peppers - finely chopped (to taste... Five is pretty hot)
- One tablespoon of cumin
- Water to cover
Sauté squash, onion, garlic, green peppers and jalapeños in olive oil until onions are soft. Add cumin and then add water until the squash is barely covered. Put a lid on it and let it go for about an hour. Open up, stir, add hominy and heat through. Purée half, add back in, and serve with sour cream.
Mélange des Légumes
Squash roasted in chunks with other vegetables such as courgette, onion, fennel, aubergine and tomato, then serve with goats' cheese crumbled on top.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Prepare the basic risotto as in this Entry. Stir in puréed baked butternut squash at the end.
Butternut Squash Seeds
The seeds can be brined and then roasted, much like pumpkin seeds can. They taste similar, but do have flavour undertones with a sweet tang and pithiness similar to unripe hachiya persimmon but not anywhere near so acrid.
Rinse off the soft pith, then toss in a medium-hot frying pan with a teaspoon of oil until they start making popping noises. Drain them on a piece of kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil then sprinkle with a little salt.
These make a further nice addition to sprinkle on the top of a squash soup.