Recipe: Savory Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is one of those ingredients that seems to intimidate a lot of cooks. It’s often served in fancy soups in fancy restaurants, an ingredient like filet mignon that seems out of reach of the home cook. Well that’s a load of hooey.

Sunday night I found myself in possession of a butternut squash and in need of a side dish to go with a roast and mashed potatoes. The squash had been sitting on top of our fridge for the better part of a month (yes, they have amazing shelf life) and was just begging to be cooked. I ad-libbed the entire process, but it worked out pretty well.

Ingredients

  • One Butternut Squash (may only be available in the winter months)
  • Two strips of bacon, diced
  • Half of a yellow or white onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. (Yes, it will be a bit challenging. Deal.) Scoop out the seeds and strings, then wrap in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes.
  2. When the squash is done, remove the plastic wrap and place it cut side down on a cutting board. Using a knife, carefully peel the skin from the flesh, taking as little of the meat as possible. This may be tricky while the squash is both hot and squishy, so grab an oven mitt for your non-cutting hand as needed. Once peeled, cut the squash into quarter inch cubes.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the bacon and cook until very crispy. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add the squash and chicken broth, stirring to break up the chunks. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Serve hot.

For those of you who are unaware, butternut squash is a sweet squash with a relatively high sugar content. This only intensifies as it ripens, so use immediately for a milder dish or, like we did, let it sit around for a bit to up the flavor. You can also cut the sweetness a bit with about ¼ tsp. nutmeg. I though it went well with roast and mashed potatoes, though you could also use this as a starch substitute.

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