Winter Squash Is In Season/ kosher recipes, information and suggestions

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We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter; and “winter squashes pretty much a summer long. Confusing yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they “were in season”  a “get em while you can” kind of mentality existed.  Right now the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them

Winter squash are more typically round in shape and have a harder, non eatable skin that needs to be peeled. Winter (or fall harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area. You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and , for the  most part they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavy than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes. While there are bunches and bunches of squash the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.

These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

 

 

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
1 pound squash = 2 to 3 servings
12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups

1 medium-size (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = 5 to 7 quarts of cooked pumpkin.

 

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

 

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it, with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

 

You can also microwave your squash. Place cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

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CHEESE AND BEEF STUFFED TURBAN SQUASH

 

1 large or 2 small turban squash

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 green pepper, diced small

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel

1 egg; slightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded

1 cup fresh parsley; chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cutting at a downward angle remove the crown of turban. Scrape out seeds and membrane. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt. Place the squash in a 9X13 baking pan with the cut opening facing down. Add about 1 inch of water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be softening but not mushy. Remove the squash from the oven turn the cut side up and leave it in the pan.

 

In a bowl, combine egg, sour cream and parmesan and mix to combine and set aside. In skillet, combine the beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 or 8 until the meat is fully cooked. Drain any excess grease and add the parsley. Add the egg mixture to meat mixture and mix to combine. Spoon the beef mixture into the squash. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into slices. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

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CASABLANCA ACORN SQUASH

 

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, shredded

2 cups garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups uncooked couscous

 

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Combine the sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the chicken broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve. Serves 8.

 

My files, source unknown

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CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW POT

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb sliced mushrooms

 

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni Chicago IL

 

ORANGE SEAFOOD STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

 

1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice, divided

2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, thinly sliced

 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest

¼ cup whipping cream

1 1b. mock/fake crab

Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions

 

Preheat oven to 375.Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9 X 12 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Pour 1/4 cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Orange mock crab.

Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mock crab and simmer an additional 3 minutes.Divide and spoon the mock crab mix on top of the roasted butternut squash. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly sliced green onions. Serves 4

Modified from CookEatShare.com

 

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WINTER SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.

3 pounds winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat oven to 400. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency. Serve garnished with parsley.

 

Modified from wholefoods.com

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EZ Winter Soups: Something just a little different

For anyone who feels that chicken soup is the one and only comfort soup that will take away the chill of winter stop reading, this blog entry  is not for you. For anyone looking for a new kind of soup to herald the coming blizzards, something different and exciting to serve the family and friends that will be sharing the fruits of your  kitchen labors (and watching football on that big screen TV that is really TOO big for the family room) keep on going.

This is the time of year when leisure time is at a premium and nobody wants to spend anymore time than they have to in the kitchen prepping and cooking.  So many other things (like, again, watching football, raking, and generally rejoicing that the kids are back in school) to do. Soups should be one of the simple thing you make and using ready made broths and stocks (both meat and vegetable) have made it incredibly easy (time wise) to whip up a big, flavorful pot of soup in less than an hour.

I’ve chosen some of my favorite fall soup recipes that utilize squash and a variety of other  vegetables that are readily affordable and available to share in this column. You’re going to love how delicious it is to start a meal with the words………..and now for something completely different.

PUMPKIN AND CHICKEN CHOWDER

2 red bell peppers (about 14 ounces)
2 jalapeño peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
3 leeks, white and light-green parts only
1 pumpkin (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
1 ear corn, kernels removed (1 cup)
3 14 1/2-ounce cans chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

 Preheat oven to broil. Place the red peppers and jalapeño on a baking sheet and cook them under the broiler, turning occasionally, until the skins blacken — about 10 minutes. Seal the charred peppers in a plastic bag for 10 to 12 minutes. Peel, stem, seed and cut peppers into 1/2-inch pieces. Set them aside. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over a medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned. Remove the chicken pieces and keep them warm. Add the leeks and pumpkin and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the flour, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the corn, peppers, chicken, broth and oregano and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, about 30 minutes. Garnish with sour cream if desired and serve hot. Serves 8.

HOT APPLE SOUP

This is a really great way to start a simple meal of sandwiches and salad.

4 Green apples (Granny Smith)
4 McIntosh apples
2 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cream

Whipped cream for topping
 
Peel, core and quarter apples. Combine all ingredients except cream in saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer 15 min. till apple’s are soft. Puree; return to pan; add 1 cup cream and heat through but don’t boil. Garnish each serving with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH BISQUE WITH BOURBON MAPLE SYRUP

Hummmm what should we do with the left over bourbon………….

3lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 pound butter
1 qt milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon dry mustard
1tablespoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

In a heavy bottom pot melt the butter and add the onion and the garlic; cook over med-low heat till just softened and translucent. Add the brown sugar and simmer till melted in. Add  the butternut squash, nutmeg, mustard, cinnamon milk and cream and simmer till the squash is cooked through. Put soup in the blender (carefully) and puree. Strain and season to taste with salt and pepper. To Serve, drizzle the top of each individual bowl with the Bourbon Maple Syrup. Serves 6 to 8.

For the Bourbon Maple Syrup

1 cup Bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple Syrup

In a small pot add brown sugar and bourbon and reduce the mixture over a low flame till the mixture is thickened and foamy. Add the maple syrup and simmer 3 more minutes. Let cool to room temp before using

THAI PUMPKIN SOUP

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon butter
1teaspoon minced garlic

4 shallots, minced
2 small fresh red chili peppers, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

fresh basil for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat the peanut oil and butter over low heat. Cook the garlic, shallots, and chilies in oil until aromatic but not browned. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk and pumpkin and bring to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin is tender, 15 to 20 minutes (longer if necessary) In a blender, blend the soup in batches to a smooth consistency. You could sprinkle fresh basil over this for a garnish. Serves 6 to 8

CAULIFLOWER SOUP WITH CURRIED ONIONS
 Ingredients:
4 strips of bacon, diced
2 cups of onions, sliced
1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon flour
5 cups light vegetable or chicken stock
1 medium potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 and 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound cauliflower, broken into flowerets and the rest chopped
1 teaspoon tumeric
1/4 cup chutney
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons green onion, sliced diagonally

Method:
Fry bacon til crisp, then remove, drain, and reserve. Pour off all but about 3 Tablespoons of the bacon fat and scrape up the bottom of the pan a bit, then add onion, garlic, curry, and cayenne and stir for about a minute. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, til the onions are soft. Add the sugar, turn up the heat to high, and stir until the onions are brown–about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and set aside.

At the same time, bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan and add the potato and a teaspoon of salt. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and tumeric, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover, cooking until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a minute or two.

Puree 3/4 of the cauliflower mixture with the chutney, then pour back into the pan with the remaining cauliflower mixture. Stir in the onion mixture and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. At this point, you can hold it in the refrigerator til you are ready to serve it. Just reheat when you’re ready.

When ready to serve, stir in the crumbled bacon, parsley, lemon juice, and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the green onions. Serve immediately.

SOUTHWESTERN VEGETABLE SOUP  

6 cups chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup water
1 cup canned dark red kidney beans, with liquid
1 cup frozen yellow cut corn
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 cup diced Spanish onion
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 corn tortillas, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
dash garlic powder

Garnish
1 cup grated cheddar cheese blend
1 cup crumbled corn tortilla chips

1. Combine all the soup ingredients in a large saucepan or soup pot over high heat. Be sure to
mince the corn tortillas into small pieces with a sharp knife before adding them to the soup.
2. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the soup
has thickened and tortilla pieces have mostly dissolved.
3. To serve soup ladle 1 1/2 cups into a bowl. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon of the grated
cheddar/jack cheese blend over the top of the soup, and then a heaping tablespoon of crumbled
corn tortilla chips over the cheese.
Makes 6 servings.

ZUCCHINI BISQUE SOUP
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cup zucchini, shredded
2 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

In a saucepan melt the butter and  saute the onion until tender. Stir in the chicken broth, zucchini and basil, salt, nutmeg and white pepper. Heat the soup to boiling and then cool  to room temperature. Puree a portion at a time in food processor; leaving slightly lumpy. Soup can be served hot or cold. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.