What do you do when you buy a squash half as big as Batman?
You make soup. And more soup. And baked squash. And more baked squash. And enjoy.
I bought this beautiful Butternut for a whopping $3 when I took the littlest ones on a field trip to the apple-less orchard. (This year’s apple crop in eastern Michigan was nil thanks to that nasty late freeze in the spring.) But the pumpkins and the squash were bountiful, so I loaded up before packing up the car with kids who were all sugared up on a fair share of those yummy fresh cinnamon-y donuts that only seem to exist at cider mills and orchards.
The thing about a giant squash is, it’s giant. You have to put it somewhere before you’re ready to have at it, and when you are ready, you better make time. It takes a long time to slay the thick-skinned beast. You need a plan of attack and a really sharp, and strong knife. And a Butternut is not like a Hubbard squash. I have no qualms throwing an ugly monster Hubbard on the ground for quick breaking and not-so-quick roasting.
I peeled, sliced and diced for about 25 minutes. I don’t have top-chef knife handling skills, and I’d like to keep my fingers. So, speedy, I am not; but careful, I am.
That one big squash yielded enough meat to make a double dose of my favorite squash soup recipe from Greenfield Village’s Eagle Tavern, and a full 9×12 of baked squash with butter, brown sugar, lemon zest and nutmeg.
My only deviation from the Eagle Tavern recipe is that I used chicken stock instead of veggie, because that’s what I had on hand.
The most careful piece of advice I can give with that recipe – and all other squash soup and sauce recipes – is do not overcook the squash. The color seems to change from a soft orange to a more mustard brown. It also seems to diminish some of the “squashiness.” In other words – don’t boil that beautiful squash.
The soup was delightful, as always, and I shared it with anyone who would take it. As much as Richard and I love it, the kids, not so much. But, they did devour the baked squash, which carried us through a left-overs night, too.
I used about a 1/4 cup of butter, slicing it and just placing it evenly on the squash. Sprinkled with 2 T of brown sugar, a sprinkle of sea salt and then a light dust of freshly ground nutmeg. I covered with aluminum foil and baked at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes (until the squash could be easily pierced with a fork). Then I baked another 10-15 minutes uncovered, for a little more browning and bubbling. It came out perfectly.
I much prefer the convenience of smaller, dainty squash – not that a vegetable named squash can actually be considered dainty. But for the price and the energy, this squash was super.