Winter Squash

Roasted Squash Soup
A sweet and savoury soup perfect on a cool autumn day Serves 4-6

1 large butternut squash
1 carrot
1 medium onion
1 leek (white part only)
2 tablespoons butter
8 cups chicken stock
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper
Brie cheese (to add to bowl)
Snipped chives

Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees until tender – about 45 minutes

Chop carrot, onion and leek in to 1 inch pieces and place in large part. Sautee in butter. Do not brown.

Scrape flesh from cooked squash and add to vegetables. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add apple, bay leaf and sugar. Simmer 40 minutes uncovered.

Remove bay leaf and puree in batches in the blender or use a handheld submersible blender right in the pot. Pour back into pot and heat to desired temperature.

Spaghetti Squash with Herb Butter
Serves 6

1 spaghetti squash, (3 lb/1.5 kg)
1/4 cup (50 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Herb Butter:
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh sage or fresh basil or fresh parsley
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper

Halve and seed squash. Place, cut side down, on lightly greased baking sheet; bake in 400°F (200°C) oven for about 1 hour or until flesh is easily pierced. Using fork, gently scrape cooked strands from squash; transfer to large bowl.

Herb Butter: Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat; add garlic and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until garlic starts to turn golden. Remove from heat; stir in sage and pepper. Pour over squash; add cheese and toss.

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash
A brilliant alternative to the usual candied yams Serves 6

1 large butternut squash
1 head garlic separated but not peeled
2 Tbsp. good olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces thinly sliced pancetta chopped
16 whole fresh sage leaves
French bread for serving

Preheat oven to 400°. Peel and seed butternut squash and then cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Place squash and whole unpeeled garlic cloves in a baking dish or sheet pan large enough to hold them all in one layer. Toss with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash begins to brown, turning once during baking.

Sprinkle pancetta and sage leaves evenly over squash and continue to bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until squash and garlic are tender and caramelized. Season to taste and serve hot with French bread for guests to spread with the roasted garlic.

Classic Baked Acorn Squash
Serves 2

1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Using a strong, sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.

3. Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4

2 lbs acorn squash (2 @ 1 lb each)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1/3 cup natural almonds (raw)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup dried apricot, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut side of each squash with 1/2 teaspoon honey; place squash, cut side down, onto the baking sheet, and bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, put the quinoa and 1 c water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover; cook until all the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. In a dry medium-size skillet, toast the nuts over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, three to five minutes. Allow them to cool, then chop them.

4. Heat the oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook until is softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in the cumin, cinnamon and ginger. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice.

5. Add the onion mixture to the cooked quinoa, stirring until well combined. Stir in the almonds, apricots, parsley and mint; season with salt and pepper. To serve, place a squash half on a serving plate then fill each piece of squash with one quarter of the quinoa mixture. Drizzle each with 1 teaspoon of honey, and serve.

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