Tuesday, November 18, 2008

37. Braised Winter Squash (Butternut)

Date Cooked: November 9, 2008
Page: 204

Rating: B-

My wife was away for the weekend and I wanted to cook a nice dinner for her when she returned home. One thing this cooking adventure has begun doing for me is appreciating the time to sit down and eat. So I wanted the dinner to be a little more than the regular sauté pan fare. I roasted a chicken but that is for the next post. I served butternut squash with it though and this is what I will discuss today.

Up front I will say I have never cooked a butternut squash before so when the book was mentioning splitting it with a cleaver and mallet I kind of chuckled. Damn those things are tough! It probably didn’t help that I grabbed the largest squash in the supermarket bin either. My chef’s knife worked well but I can see how accidents happen in the kitchen. It takes a lot of force to cut them in half. Once that was done, and the seeds scooped, it was minimal effort to cube the squash.

I chose to braise the squash instead of roasting because the oven was being used for the chicken. I melted some butter in the dutch oven, sautéed some shallots, and then dumped in the squash with chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. After a quick stir I left it to braise undisturbed for 20 minutes. Once again I ran into a common problem I have with timing. Checked it after 20 minutes and felt it was still too hard. Stirred it, covered it again and let cook for five more minutes. When I checked back it was a little over cooked and had begun to lose its structural integrity. I quickly removed it from the heat and let it rest uncovered until the chicken was served.

Rating: B-. I liked the squash but it was too cooked and I found that it was one step away from being mashed, which I probably should have just done. It had a strong buttery flavor and a little sweetness and/or acidity would have been a nice addition. I wonder if braising it in apple cider would have been a good choice.

1 comment:

  1. I have never had butternut squash this way. I usually just make soup (yum!) but a good side dish would be nice!


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