Thursday, October 1, 2015

Baked Butternut Squash with stewed apples, raisins, cranberries and molasses

Baked Butternut Squash with stewed apples, raisins, cranberries and molasses

                           Many times I have gone into the grocery store to buy butternut and acorn squash.  Almost every time, the cashier has no idea what I am purchasing.  When I tell them what it is, they look confused and some will ask me what do I do with it?       When I have my friends over for dinner and serve them their own acorn squash filled with stewed fruit, they are amazed.  It's so pretty, and the taste is incredible.  Most people think of squash, as a vegetable that you boil or bread and fry, not one that you bake.  I tried a recipe that called for peeling the butternut squash, cutting it into pieces then boiling it.  

 That took so much time, it was not fun. I spent more time trying to peel that hard skinned squash than I did preparing the turkey.  I will never do that again.  What a pain!
Acorn squash are smaller with a lovely dark green color.  Check out my post for Balsamic Maple Glazed Pork Chops and Acorn Squash, for a great dinner recipe with a lovely picture of an acorn squash ready for the oven.  The picture is from another blogger, and a link to her recipe is also included.  I can't take credit for that great picture.

Butternut squash are long and light tan in color.  I'm not sure I can describe their taste.  Maybe somewhere between a pumpkin and a sweet potato?  They are not too sweet, nor too bitter. They have a lovely flavor, that is enhanced by adding butter and stewed fruit.  Butternut squash can be the entire meal, or a lovely addition to a meal.  It's definitely a great "wow" dish.  One butternut squash can serve 4 people.  With an acorn squash, I serve one person a half of an acorn squash filled with the fruit.  Like a bowl.  The Butternut squash is bigger, and a little awkward.  I generally put the butter in the squash, stir it up, then add the fruit on top.  Instead of putting a enormous butternut squash on each persons plate, we dish it out with a serving spoon.  It still looks nice on the serving platter, then it's gone.  All of it usually.  

Baked Butternut Squash with stewed apples, raisins, cranberries and molasses:

Butternut Squash
Butter or Coconut Oil
Orange Juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Wash the Butternut squash (to stop the spread of any germs that may be on the skin, when slicing through with the knife)

Place the tip of a sharp kitchen knife into the side of the butternut squash.  Place gentle pressure on the knife and slice toward the end of the squash.  Once you have a nice sized slit, slide the knife deeper and cut the squash in half.  Generally, once the initial opening is made, the squash will kind of "crack" open as you force the knife through it. It's not hard to cut at all.  

Scoop out the seeds and discard

Place each half, flat side down, on an edged baking sheet and add water.  Don't leave out this step.  ADD WATER!  This keeps the edges from burning, and keeps the squash from drying out.  Just enough to cover the bottom of the sheet.  

Place in the preheated oven and allow to bake for 45 minutes.  

The squash are cooked through when you can make an easy "dent" in the skin by lightly pushing on it. If it doesn't give easily, and make a small dent, then let bake a little bit longer.  

When the butternut squash are baked through and soft, pull out of the oven, and add butter to taste.  The squash should be easy to stir with a spoon to incorporate the butter. Drizzle on some molasses or brown sugar to sweeten it up.  It really does add a nice layer of flavor!

Stewed Apples:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 Red delicious apple
Some sort of fruit juice
Orange Juice
Dried Raisins and cranberries
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon (to taste)

Heat a small saucepan on medium low and add the butter
Wash the apple, then slice into bite size pieces, add to the butter. I leave the skins on, that's where all the nutrients are, and they become soft during the cooking process
Stir it around and let the apples cook a little in the butter
Don't let the butter turn brown!
Add the cinnamon
I use whatever juice is in the fridge, tonight it was actually fruit punch. I just pour in enough to cover the apples half way up, and then add a splash of Orange Juice. It add's a surprise taste that is lovely.
Add the raisins and cranberries and put the lid on let simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Scoop the stewed apples into the prepared Butternut Squash

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