Friday, November 26, 2010

Check out this squash

By Helen Klein

You can’t go wrong with November’s savory foodstuffs.

Squash, apples, pears, sweet potatoes, and nuts: toss a bunch of them together in a pot or pan and good things are likely to emerge.

That’s exactly what I did one recent afternoon. My crisper was overflowing with seasonal bounty, a judicious selection that came together in a sweet yet savory side dish that starred golden squash, tart apples and buttery sweet pears, spiked with onion, nutmeg, cinnamon, a shot of lemon juice and maple syrup. The final touch? A sprinkling of pecans, whose crunch provided welcome contrast to the softened produce, even as their flavor echoed the sweet nuttiness of the maple syrup.

Winter squash melange
Serves 4-6

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 3/4-1 1/2 lbs. winter squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 small Granny Smith apples, cored and cubed
1 just-ripe pear, cored and cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup shelled pecans, coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in large non-stick frying pan. When oil is hot, add onion, sprinkle with salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally over medium heat till onion is soft and golden-colored. 

Add squash, and continue to sauté, tossing from time to time. When the squash has begun to soften, add the apple and pear chunks and continue sautéing, stirring occasionally and adding a splash of water as necessary.

When squash, apples and pears are partially cooked, add maple syrup, lemon juice and spices, and stir well. Continue to cook until liquid in the pan is reduced and squash is tender, adding a little water as necessary to prevent burning. When dish is nearly done, add pecan pieces, and stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper as necessary.

Serve when squash is tender.


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