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Would You Just LOOK At All Those Beautiful Winter Squash?! Now What Do I Do With Them?

8:53 AM

The squash at the roadside stand last weekend were absolutely beautiful.  Except maybe for the Hubbards.  Hubbard Squash were my own challenge of the season.  Most people just use them as decoration outside to contrast  the bright orange of pumpkins... and of course, I took this as an ultimate kitchen challenge.

Hubbards are ugly, and bumpy, and HUGE! But they're also delicious.
I picked up a modestly-sized one along with a bunch of other gorgeous varieties and have been cooking up a storm.

My daughter helped me create this tablescape!

And here is how we're dealing with all of these gorgeous ingredients (I needed one of EACH squash from the farmstand that day!).

Delicata and Carnival Squash as pictured here in front of the Hubbard can be eaten in a number of ways.  The easiest and quickest is to chop them up into slices, leaving the skin intact, and roast them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and an herb combo of choice (I like rosemary and thyme this time of year).  Roast in a large casserole pan in a 400f oven until the skin becomes soft enough to penetrate with a fork.

Another method that would work with these gorgeous squashes is to split them in half and use them as bowls to stuff with YUMMY Chestnut stuffing.  I discussed how to do this recipe using Acorn Squash last fall right here.  This recipe is one for a nice weekend dinner, or even for Thanksgiving. It's filling and could be a meal unto itself!

Another cute little squash I couldn't pass up was this Kabocha.
Kabocha squash sitting next to a couple gourds that volunteered to grow in our garden.
If you're thinking, "Boy, that looks just like a pumpkin", you'd be right! It can be treated exactly like a pumpkin and that's what I intend to do.  I'm going to Roast and Puree it (here's how to roast and puree a pumpkin) and I'll be making our first pumpkin pie of the year out of the puree.  Pumpkin Pie Recipe and some awesome photos from last year, plus what to do with the seeds!

And that brings us to THE MOTHER of all Winter squash:  Mother Hubbard!
These squash are huge, and meaty, and mild, and REALLY difficult to cut up. There are two recipes that I love for "dealing" with this gorgeous monster.  The 1st,  cut the top 1/4 off of the squash,  scoop out all the seeds, roast it at 400f on the bottom rack of the oven until hot*, and then pull it out and use it as an edible soup tureen at a party.  This Autumnal Warming Soup would be lovely in such a tureen!

*I had to google this, but for some reason I thought that winter squash HAD to be cooked because it was inedible otherwise, or perhaps because it carried some sort of bacteria.  WRONG!  It's perfectly fine to eat raw winter squash!  So the roasting of the hubbard here is really only to get it warm so it doesn't make your soup cold when you pour it in there. You could, in fact,  leave it raw *

The Second is to roast it and puree it.  You'll have enough puree for dinner and then several more cups to be frozen and used in things like soup later on.  The flavor is really very mild (despite the bumpy, horrific-looking exterior) and it would lend itself to pretty much any flavor or spice combination.

Really, the most interesting part of roasting and pureeing this variety of squash is that you get to SMASH IT!  So, take your squash, put it in a garbage bag, heave it over your shoulder and smash it on the concrete (driveway, or garage) a few times!  I'm not kidding, the girl at the stand told me to do it!

Hubbard squash, inside the bag!

Scrape out the seeds and set them aside.  Arrange your squash pieces in baking dishes, coat them with Olive oil, Kosher Salt, and fresh cracked pepper and roast them in the oven at 400f until fork tender.

Now scrape the flesh off of the skin and puree it in batches in a blender or food processor.  Freeze what you aren't going to use immediately (i measured mine into a few 2-cup batches).

I served up my Hubbard Squash sweet and creamy last night with about 1 tbsp of maple syrup mixed in about 4 cups of puree and walnuts sprinkled over the top!

So, remember I said to "reserve the seeds".   Well, I've decided that I have such a habit of accumulating edible Autumnal decorations that I should at least give saving some seeds and planting them in the Spring a fair shot.

Rinse your seeds clean and spread them out on a tray covered with paper towel to dry.  In about 2 weeks (once  they're dry) put them in a storage bag and keep them in a cool, dry place until spring!

Can you tell I love squash?!

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