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I have always been fascinated by the stunning array of shapes and colours that squash comes in. There is archaeological evidence of squash being cultivated in the Americas as far back as 8000 B.C. and remains an important food source for many cultures. They are a close cousin to melons and are not a vegetable – as they are commonly called – but rather a fruit. If you roast squash with its skin on, it will last up to 10 days in the fridge. So, when I have my oven on for cooking something else, I will often roast one to have it on hand. What I do is poke the skin randomly with a fork, about 6 times, then lightly coat the outside with cooking oil and place it in the oven, along with whatever else I have in there at the time. At 350º F., a medium squash will take about 30 minutes.
Delicata Squash and Ginger Soup
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Fresh ginger and turmeric are a flavour duo that pops on the palate and soothes the stomach, all at the same time. If you can’t find delicata squash, then use a deeply coloured squash like butternut. Into a large pot, put 1 onion, chopped, 1 small delicata squash peeled, cleaned and diced, 1 small fennel chopped, 1 T. minced fresh ginger and 1 T. minced fresh turmeric, no need to peel them or fuss in any way. To get the correct consistency for your soup, add only enough stock to cover the contents of the pot – about 3 c. or more, if needed, of chicken or vegetable stock. Place over high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, add salt to taste. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until everything is soft. With a blender, purée until smooth, adjust the salt and add 1/2 c. whipping cream. For a garnish, whip 1 c. whipping cream with 1/2 t. salt into stiff peaks. Chop about 2 t. of chives. To serve, spoon soup into bowls, place a dollop of cream in the centre of each bowl and sprinkle chives over top. Serves 4 to 6.
Red Kuri Squash Stuffed with Sausage Red kuri squash can get quite huge. So, if you can’t find any small ones, then use acorn squash. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut 2 very small red kuri squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Arrange on a baking tray and set aside. In a bowl put 2 roma tomatoes, diced, 3 slices white bread, cubed, 4 spicy Italian sausages with the casings removed and picked into little bits, 2 T. chopped fresh parsley and 1 t. salt and toss to moisten the bread. Divide the filling into the squash “bowls.” Bake in the oven until the sausage is cooked and the bread looks golden and a little crispy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 2 to 4.
Stewed Chicken with Acorn Squash and Green Beans This stew is a fast one. I don’t like chicken when it gets stringy, so as soon as the chicken is cooked through, this stew is ready. Into a large pot, put 8 chicken legs, skin on, 1 acorn squash, peeled, cleaned and diced, 1 red onion, sliced, 24 baby potatoes, cut in half, 2 c. water, 2 c. white wine, 1/2 t. saffron, 1 t. smoked paprika and 1 T. salt. Place over high heat and bring to a boil before reducing the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes before adding 1 c. cut green beans and 1 red pepper, diced. Increase the heat to bring it back to a boil. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the beans are tender, adjust the salt and serve. Serves 4.
CITYPALATE.ca SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2017
The Flavour of Calgary's Food Scene - The Harvest Issue