Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

I made this recipe to see if I liked acorn squash. (Last year, before I had a blog.) I decided if I didn't like the squash in this recipe, I just don't like squash. I can't imagine that there would be a better acorn squash recipe. This recipe (acorn squash with brown sugar) was fantastic. Well...ya know...except for the squash in it. Needless to say, I didn't make the second squash recipe. See the entry for how to pick out and store an acorn squash (next post). See the hints at the bottom of this post on how to cut a squash safely. This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated magazine.

ACORN SQUASH WITH BROWN SUGAR
Squash smaller then 1 1/2 lbs will likely cook a little faster then the recipe indicates, so begin checking for doneness a few minutes early. Conversely, larger squash will take slightly longer to cook. However, keep in mind that the cooking time is largely dependent on the microwave. If microwaving the squash in Pyrex, the manufacturer recommends adding water to the dish (or bowl) prior to cooking. To avoid a steam burn when uncovering the cooked squash, peel back the plastic wrap very carefully, starting from the side that is farthest away from you.

INGREDIENTS

2 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved pole to pole (through the root end) and seeded

salt

3 T butter

3 T dark brown sugar


1. Sprinkle squash halves with salt and place halves cut-sides down in a 13 by 9-inch microwave-safe baking dish or arrange halves in large (about 4 quart) microwave safe bowl, so that cut sides face out. If using Pyrex, add 1/2 cup water to dish or bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, using multiple sheets, if necessary; with paring knife, poke about 4 steam vents in the plastic wrap. Microwave on high power until squash is very tender and offers no resistance when pierced with a paring knife, 15 to 25 minutes. Using potholders, remove baking dish or bowl from the microwave and set on a clean, dry surface (avoid damp or cold surfaces).

2. While squash is cooking, adjust oven rack to uppermost position (about 6 inches from heating element); heat broiler. Melt butter, brown sugar and 1/8 tps salt in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking occasionally, until combined.

3. When squash is cooked, carefully pull back plastic wrap from the side furthest from you. Using tongs, transfer cooked squash cut-side up to rimmed baking sheet. Spoon portion of butter/sugar mixture onto each squash half. Broil until brown and caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes, rotating baking sheet as necessary and removing squash halves as they are done. Set squash halves on individual plates and serve immediately.

ACORN SQUASH WITH ROSEMARY-DRIED FIG COMPOTE

1. Follow the recipe for Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar, omitting brown sugar/butter mixture. While squash is cooking, combine 1 cup orange juice; 4 dried black figs, chopped medium (scant 1/2 cup); 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary; 1 T dark brown sugar, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper; and 1/8 tps salt in a small saucepan. Simmer rapidly over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter.

2. Continue with the recipe to fill and broil squash halves, substituting fig compote for brown sugar/butter mix.

TWO WAYS TO CUT A SQUASH SAFELY

Knife and rubber mallet:


1. Set squash on a damp kitchen towel to hold it in place. Position knife on rind of squash.

2. Strike back of knife with rubber mallet to drive knife into squash. Continue to hit knife with mallet until knife cuts through squash.

Metal bench scraper and hammer:

1. Set squash on damp kitchen towel. Position bench scrapper on rind.

2. Strike handle of bench scraper with hammer until blade cuts through squash.

2 comments:

Beth said...

I loooove acorn squash. I'm fascinated with the fig idea, this could be A Very Good Thing.

Anonymous said...

I've made the Brown Sugar recipe several times recently. It's a winner! Thanks for posting.