I alluded to this recipe a couple of weeks ago, when I was talking about the date night meal Rich and I enjoyed on a Friday night. We had Cornish hens, a whole grain medley and this squash. I’m not sure which was our favorite, but together they made a wonderful fall meal.
I had two beautiful acorn squash that my dad grew in his garden and I wanted to do them justice. I also wanted to do something different than my usual method – roasting the squash halves and serving them with butter and brown sugar. I envisioned slices of squash browned in butter, but I wanted to do it with the least amount of work and without flirting with stitches.
As you may know, winter squash can be nigh on impossible to peel when they are raw. You can do it, but you risk losing a digit or two in the process. If you are particularly unlucky, you will get one with a thick rind that leaves you wondering if your knife will ever make it through the darn thing so you can get the seeds out.
I figured I would need to cook the squash a little before I tried peel it. I was able to cut mine into wedges while they were raw, since they were small and had relatively thin rinds. After a short time in the oven, the wedges were easy to peel and only needed a few minutes in a skillet to get toasty brown. The flesh was tender and sweet, contrasting with the buttery, slightly salty caramelized sides of the slices. Just exactly how I had imagined they would be.
Caramelized Acorn Squash
From The Cook’s Life
You can bake the squash wedges ahead of time. Store in the fridge for a day or two, until you are ready to caramelize and serve them.
2 small to medium acorn squash
¼ cup water
½-1 tablespoon butter
brown sugar or maple syrup, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut squash in half and remove the seeds and strings. Cut squash into wedges, about 1½ inches wide at the widest portion.*
Arrange squash wedges in a single layer in a casserole dish. Add water and cover with the lid or foil. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they are crisp tender. A fork will go in the flesh, but not easily.
Remove squash wedges from oven and let cool until you can handle them. Peel squash. At this point you can refrigerate the squash wedges for up to a couple of days.
Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add squash wedges, laying them on their sides in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, if desired. Let cook, undisturbed, for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottoms. Carefully turn over and brown the other side for 5-7 minutes more.
Serve hot. Sprinkle with brown sugar or drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
*If your squash has a particularly hard-to-cut rind, you can cut it into wedges after it bakes. You will probably need to bake the halves longer than the wedges to get them crisp tender.