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Eating Seasonally = Winter Squash

January 7th, 2009

When you’re trying to eat seasonally you start to wonder what you’re going to be eating for veggies in the winter. I do have mache and spinach still growing in the garden for greens, as well as canned green beans, beets, and zucchini pickles in the pantry. All of these are wonderful, but one of the best winter vegetables is butternut squash. They’re super easy to store, mine are just sitting on top of the side table in my dining room. They will last for up to 6 months if stored properly. Now that’s amazing, no canning, freezing or preparing, just pile in a corner and check them every week or so, could it get any easier than that?
There’s just something about roasted squash that is warm and cozy. They’re also super healthy. Butternut squash is an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and A, and a good source of calcium.

So how do you go about eating a butternut squash? They can be cooked in a variety of ways: baked, pureed (like mashed potatoes), in muffins, in pies, in ravioli or lasagna, and in soups. We prefer ours in soup or roasted, although butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter occasionally graces our winter table. You can also eat the seeds if you’d like. I sometimes roast them in the oven, but most of the time I save them and throw them out by the bird feeder for the birds.
Most of the butternut squashes that grew in my garden this summer were small ones, but I did have a volunteer that grow out of my compost pile that produced a 3 pound squash. I bought 6-7 at the farmer’s market along with a few pumpkins and other kinds of squash.

Here’s my favorite Butternut Squash recipe.

Butternut Squash and Chipotle Soup

from Fresh & Light (Williams-Sonoma)

1 butternut squash, 2.5 lbs
1 tablespoon of butter
2 slices of coarse country bread, each about 1/2 inch thick cut into 1/2 inch cubes (for croutons)
1 teaspoon of dried sage
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2 small chipotle peppers (I’d start with 1 without seeds and then taste) I use canned ones
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth
salt to taste
fresh sage leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Using spoon, scrape out the seeds and any fibers and discard. Place the squash halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet and bake until just tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into a bowl.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, warm the butter. Add the bread and dried sage and saute, stirring often, until the bread cubes are browned on all side, about 4 minutes. Using a spoon, transfer croutons to a plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash chiles, and broth. Simmer over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until the squash is very soft, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth (or with immersion blender), be very carefully blending hot soup as it has a tendency to explode the top off the blender. It’s best to start with bursts of power then to full blend. Its also wise to keep a kitchen towel draped over the blender. I have found an immersion blender to be indispensable since we make many pureed soups.

Return soup to the pan and reheat gently. If desired add some whole milk and butter. Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Ladle into warmed bowls. Divide the croutons among the servings and garnish with sage leaves. Serve hot.

What’s you’re favorite way to eat butternut squash?

9 Comments to “Eating Seasonally = Winter Squash”
  1. farm mom on January 7, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I read somewhere recently that there was a test done and it’s the small ones that have the best flavor, so if you’re at the farmers market, you should go for the little guys. Interesting!

    Reply to farm mom's comment

  2. rachel on January 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

    There seem to be a lot of us making butternut squash this week! I made mine two nights ago… halved, put butter, maple syrup salt and pepper on top and roasted in a 425 degree oven. Next I’m going to make a coconut milk based curry soup with them. :)

    Reply to rachel's comment

  3. Stephany on January 7, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Mine all started to get soft, this year. Isn’t that weird. I didn’t have a banner squash year because of the wonky weather in the spring so I just threw the few I had in my granny roaster, steamed them, pureed them, and popped it in the freezer.
    Oh well, it will still work just fine to make your really yummy-looking recipe.

    Reply to Stephany's comment

  4. n. on January 7, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    J. likes his in soup but I don’t like my soups thick. I prefer it mashed in with potatoes and we both like it in ravioli.

    Reply to n.'s comment

  5. Emily@remodelingthislife on January 7, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I saw it in my reader and then came here to comment but it’s gone. I hope Lucy is better soon. what a bummer on the torn ACL. Those hiking photos and the fall leaves were fabulous!

    (this squash looks yummy too :) )

    Reply to Emily@remodelingthislife's comment

  6. Expat Chef on January 9, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Sounds lovely! I am on the never-ending quest for orange food recipes, and still have a few pumpkins stacked up for our winter supply. I will try this!

    Reply to Expat Chef's comment

  7. BRRRRR… It’s Soup Season | Chiot's Run on December 7, 2009 at 4:47 am

    […] the tomato soup I canned many quarts of this summer. We also like chicken stew with dumplings, butternut squash and chipotle soup, venison stews, sausage & lentil soup and red lentil dal soup. I found this recipe on-line […]

    Reply to BRRRRR… It’s Soup Season | Chiot’s Run's comment

  8. Tree on December 7, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I have a question. In my efforts to eat more locally this year, I bought a bunch of butternut squash. I haven’t gotten around to roasting them yet and two have small spots where an amber liquid has started to seep out (just a small amount). Does this mean these two are bad and should be tossed? Or will I know when I cut into them if they are bad? I would really like to roast them tonight and then make soup later in the week with them.
    .-= Tree´s last blog ..My Grocery Dilema =-.

    Reply to Tree's comment

    • Susy on December 7, 2009 at 10:53 am

      I would cut into the squash and just cut out the bad part. Often when they seep the amber liquid they’ve just gotten nicked by something.

      Reply to Susy's comment

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