Season of food

4 Dec

By Chris Garbutt

It’s the season of lots of food, particularly if you celebrate Christmas. Sweets, shortbreads, candy canes, big meals, parties (by the way, isn’t December the time you’re supposed to get a rest? why doesn’t it ever work out that way?)

Anyway, now that it’s cold just about everywhere in the country, we can turn on our ovens and set to roasting and baking. Back at Thanksgiving, my mother showed up with two pepper squashes, and as happens sometimes, it sat in my vegetable bowl for almost two months before I decided what to do with it. It started turning from a deep green to a bright orange, so I figured I better act fast if I wanted to try this lovely vegetable. When I cut it open (not easy, it was huge, and very, very hard), every thing looked fresh, so I got to work. I love squash, but I find pepper squash’s flavour and texture need to be enhanced just a little. So here’s what I finally did last night.

Roast Pepper Squash

1 large pepper squash, halved and seeded
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
salt & pepper
2 tbsp maple syrup

Lay the squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle brown sugar over both halves, put one tablespoon of butter into the hollow of each half, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Cover the squash tightly with foil, then bake in a preheated 400F oven for 1 – 1.5 hours, or until soft.

There will be a fair amount of liquid in the hollows of the squash — pour that into a bowl, then scoop out the flesh into the same bowl (make sure you’re using oven mitts here!!). Add the maple syrup (I believe that more is better), and mash well. Mash with a potato masher or puree with a stick blender (I like it to be just a little lumpy, but if you like a smoother texture, you could even put it in a food processor or blender). Serves 4-6.

FYI — I had this with roasted chicken breasts (skin on, bone-in — much better flavour) and roasted potatoes and carrots.

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