Stuffed Butternut Squash

2 11 2010

Butternut squash can be stuffed to make an elegant vegetarian dish

My brother-in-law Dan is a vegetarian so I’m always trying to come up with interesting dishes so he’ll have something special to enjoy at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I enjoy the challenge and it encourages those of us who eat meat to try some new dishes as well.  I made this butternut squash stuffed with wild rice and herbs last year and it was a hit.  It makes quite a bit so you should have plenty to serve as either a vegetarian main course or as a side dish.  It is delicious with pork, chicken or turkey. I can easily be adapted for vegans- just follow the substitutions at the end of the recipe.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes about 8 to 10 servings as a side dish or 4 to 6 servings as a main course

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil such as safflower

Stuffing:

  • ½ cup raw wild rice
  • ½ cup raw white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ medium onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, finely diced (about ½ a large pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter OR margarine OR oil such as safflower or olive
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a large sharp knife, cut the butternut squash lengthwise down the middle and separate the two halves.
  3. Scoop out any seeds and discard. Rub each half of the squash with the oil (1 teaspoon per half). Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Check tenderness with a sharp knife – it should be soft enough to scoop out with ease.
  4. While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing ingredients. In a large saucepan, heat 2 cups vegetable stock until boiling. Add wild rice, cover tightly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Add white rice to the pot and continue to cook the rice mixture for another 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.
  5. In a large bowl, add onion, red pepper, garlic, sage, rosemary and thyme. Once the rice mixture has cooked, add it as well.
  6. Remove baked squash from the oven and let cool slightly. Using a large spoon, carefully scoop the flesh out of the baked squash halves, making sure to leave about ¾” of a ‘wall’ intact so the shells will hold together. Add the scooped squash to the rice/stuffing bowl.
  7. Stir the cooked squash into the rice stuffing mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Add melted butter and salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Scoop the stuffing mixture back into the squash halves. Top each half with parmesan cheese or bread crumbs (1/4 cup per half).
  9. Bake stuffed squash for 20 minutes or until the cheese is beginning to brown on top. Garnish with a sprig of sage if desired.

*Vegan Adaptation:

Substitute vegan-friendly margarine, olive oil or neutral oil (canola, safflower, etc) for the melted butter. Top with ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs that have been tossed with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs. Bake stuffed squash for 20 minutes or until crumbs begin to brown.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com.

Stuffed Butternut Squash, garnish with a sprig of fresh sage

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Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Brown Butter

21 10 2010

A butternut squash on the vine

Soups are one of my favourite things to make once the weather turns cool.  They are comforting and warming but best of all, easy to make (and most recipes are very forgiving).  They can also be made in advance which makes soups the perfect dish to serve as a starter at a dinner party or for a casual lunch.

Butternut squash is widely available at this time of year and it pairs beautifully with fresh sage.  A diced apple adds a touch of sweetness and brown butter is the perfect addition to drizzle over the finished soup.  Even though this soup seems hearty, it’s actually quite low in fat and can be easily adapted for vegetarians, making it a great choice for entertaining.

To learn more about making flavourful, lower-fat soups, check out this article I wrote for Suite 101.com: How to Make Flavourful Low Fat Soups.

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Brown Butter

(Can be adapted to be VEGETARIAN)

Tip: Use a very sharp knife to peel and cut up the squash – they can be quite hard.

Makes 7 to 8 cups of soup

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed and cut into 1″ cubes (about 3 cups of squash)
  • 6 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken stock or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock if serving vegetarians)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Sage Brown Butter Garnish (see below)
  1. In a large pot, heat oil and add onion and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add herbs and cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Add apple, butternut squash and stock. Cover and simmer on medium for 30 minutes.
  3. Let mixture cool and puree until smooth in a blender or with an immersion blender. Return to heat and simmer uncovered for another 15 minutes.
  4. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste and garnish each serving with sage butter.

Sage Brown Butter Garnish

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 medium sized fresh sage leaves

In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and add sage leaves. Cook until leaves are crisp and butter is beginning to brown. Garnish each serving of soup with a crispy sage leaf and a few drops of brown butter.

 

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Brown Butter

This article first appeared on Suite 101.com.





Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan

17 11 2009

Butternut squash at Jean Talon Market, Montreal

 

Squash and pumpkins are the superstars of fall.  They are cheap and readily available and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  A butternut squash gratin makes a great side dish for Thanksgiving because it can be assembled in advance which makes one less thing to fuss with on the big day.  Because the ingredients for this dish are so simple, it’s important to use good quality products: fresh sage leaves, real parmesan cheese and real butter.  

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan

(VEGETARIAN)

Makes 4 to 6 servings as a side dish

  • About ¾ of a medium butternut squash (enough to yield 4 generous cups of sliced squash)
  • ¼ cup (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 20 small to medium sized fresh sage leaves or 10 large leaves torn in half
  • 1 cup (about 75 g / 2.5 oz.) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a standard sized loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Using a very sharp chef’s knife, trim off both ends of the butternut squash and discard. Place the squash upright on a solid cutting board and peel it by cutting the skin off in a downward motion. Cut the peeled squash in half vertically down the middle and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh.
  3. Using a very sharp knife or mandoline, cut squash into thin slices, about 1/8″ thick. Slice enough squash to yield about 4 generous cups of squash slices. Set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium-high heat. Once butter has completely melted, reduce heat to medium and add sage leaves. Watching carefully and swirling the pot frequently, heat butter for about 5 minutes, until it turns a dark golden brown and sage leaves are crispy. Remove from heat.
  5. In loaf pan, layer 1 cup of squash slices, overlapping them in 2 or 3 layers. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon of butter-sage mixture and top with ¼ cup of grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Repeat layering until there are a total of four layers, finishing with cheese on top. Gratin can be assembled in advance and refrigerated.
  7. Bake gratin at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until squash is tender and the top is bubbling and brown.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

This recipe first appeared on Suite 101.com

Butternut Squash Gratin with Sage and Parmesan





Welcome to March!

2 03 2009

 

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We’ve finally made it through the dark, cold months of January and February and spring is less than three weeks away. However, March is a study in contrasts – it can be as wintery as January or as spring-like as May within the same week.  This can pose unique challenges to a cook when planning menus and shopping for groceries. The best idea is to be flexible and eat what suits the weather and your mood on a given day.  If it’s a warm spring day maybe a salad with fresh greens, herbs and roast chicken will fit the bill.  On a snowy cold day, a braise or stew might be more appealing.

One dish that is flexible for the shifting weather is soup.  It can be refreshing and light or warming and comforting.  With summer just around the corner, many people are interested in lower fat dishes.  I recently wrote an article for Suite 101.com discussing how to prepare lower fat soups without sacrificing flavour.  Whether you’re serving it as a starter course or lighter main dish, soup is a  great addition to the menu.

Click here to read  How to Make Flavorful Low Fat Soups.   The recipe in the article is for Butternut Squash Soup, however, you can use your creativity to come up with your own signature soup such as asparagus, tomato, carrot or mushroom.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!