Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Last Winter Squash

Last fall I stored a nice fall crop from the farmer’s market in our makeshift root cellar, a covered open-weave basket stored in a cool dry room.   Looking back from the end of March, we’ve  enjoyed roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes stewed with black beans and chilies, butternut squash gratin with rosemary and acorn squash split and roasted with maple butter.  Our local farmers market will be reopening soon and there’s just one thing left, a turban squash.   We’ll need one last recipe….

Turban squash get its name from its hat like shape and fashionable striations.  Ours is predominantly green but you’ll see them with orange and yellow accents too.  It’s a mild squash with a slightly sweet flavor that can be boiled or baked.  It goes well with chicken, pork, lamb and even shrimp and grains.  We roasted it and served it with short grain brown rice.  With a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, it reminded us of a short cut risotto.  The leftovers were mixed with diced mozzarella cheese and piled into halved red peppers and baked.   

Roasted Turban Squash
1 turbon squash (butternut may also be used)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425˚F.  Cut skin away from squash with a sharp knife.  Cut peeled squash in half and scoop out seeds at center.  Cut squash into bite sized pieces and place in a oven safe casserole dish (or for a small squash a glass pie plate).  Add remaining ingredients and toss well.  Roast, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes until squash is tender and a fork pierces the flesh easily.  Serve over cooked brown rice.
Note: Any brown rice is terrific with winter squash.  I used Lundberg's short grain brown rice for these dishes.

Roasted Squash and Rice Stuffed Peppers
Serves 2 as a side, 1 as a main course
1 red pepper
1 cup cooked winter squash
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 oz mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Line a small baking pan with tin foil and lightly spray with oil.  Cut red pepper in half lengthwise and remove stem and seeds.  You do not need to pre-bake the peppers.  Dice mozzarella cheese.  In a small bowl combine cheese with  squash and rice.  Cut squash into smaller pieces if too large for the peppers.  Divide mixture in half and fill each pepper half.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and bake 40 minutes until peppers are tender and cheese is slightly browned on top.

Winter may not be hard to say good-bye to but local winter squash will be missed, until next year.