Savory ways to enjoy different types of squash

Posted Feb. 26, 2010, at 7:32 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 11:49 a.m.

A few weeks ago, we regaled you with squash pie at its sweet best, and now it is time to talk about savory squash. Our squashes — butternuts, buttercups, kubocha, and Delicata — are holding up pretty well, though the pumpkins broke out in soft spots last week and have been cooked and whisked into the freezer.

There is nothing wrong with good old steamed squash, mashed with butter and a bit of brown sugar. I love squash soups of all sorts and pumpkin ones, too. There are a few perfectly charming casseroles to make with them, and I like to split the smaller ones like acorns and the Delicatas to bake and sometimes stuff.

Then there is roasting. I skin them and cut them into chunks. The size of the chunks and the oven temperature depend on the time I have to cook them in. If I have 45 minutes, I do big inch or inch-and-a-half square chunks in a 375-degree oven. If I have closer to 25 or 30 minutes, I cut them down to three-quarters of an inch square. Cut them smaller and you can cook them quicker than that. You can also raise the oven heat to 400 or 425 degrees to speed it all up. All you have to do is put a film of oil — I usually use olive oil — on a roasting pan and flip the squash on it and turn them over so there is a bit of oil on each. Check after the first 15 minutes to turn them. Serve with salt and pepper. That is your basic roasted winter squash.

Consider it a blank canvas, however. My niece Sarah Oliver of Belfast inspired me to jazz up the basic roasted squash. She’s a great believer in maple syrup, dried cranberry and chipotle powder additions — very tasty and colorful — and sometimes she roasts chunks of carrot with the squash. It was good both hot and cold.

It took a cupboard inventory, though, to come up with the combination that follows. I bet you end up with an array of holiday gift jams and jellies as I do. I was looking over my collection, and found a jar of neglected red pepper jelly. Red pepper jellies come in varying degrees of heat, and I have tended to serve them with cream cheese for appetizers. It was so good on the squash, though, that I will do it again and again.

Roasted Winter Squash with Red Pepper Jelly Glaze

Winter squash, peeled and cut into chunks

Vegetable oil

Red pepper jelly

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Dribble olive oil into a roasting pan enough to coat the bottom. Drop the squash chunks, and flip them until most sides have a film of oil. Roast the squash until it is fork-tender, 25 to 30 minutes for small chunks, or 45 minutes for large ones. In the last 10 minutes, add several spoons full of jelly to the pan, tossing the squash so each chunk has jelly on it, and return to the oven to finish.

Looking for … Pad Thai. This is a request from husband Jamie who wishes I would make it once in a while. Anyone?

Send queries or answers to Sandy Oliver, 1061 Main Road, Islesboro 04848. E-mail: tastebuds@prexar.com. For recipes, tell us where they came from. List ingredients, specify number of servings and do not abbreviate measurements. Include name, address and daytime phone number.

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