Last November, the produce stand at J.E. Perry Farms was full of squash. In addition to the classic butternut, distinctive acorn, and traditional pumpkin, there were about half a dozen squash varieties I didn’t even recognize. Most of them were huge!
On our last visit before the stand closed for winter, we were gifted one of these enormous alien squash for being loyal customers. It’s a nice perk of participating in a neighborhood business, but honestly, we were quite intimidated. Here’s a picture of our squash with some excellent wine for scale:
We came up with a few fun names for it. Gargantu-Juan, Gourdon, and finally settled on Oof – for the sound I made when the guy at the farm stand handed it to me. Since we had no idea what to do with such a giant squash of unknown variety, Oof made a fine doorstop for about six weeks.
Finally, through a fair bit of Googling, we felt prepared to take on the Super Squash, which is actually a Blue Hubbard variety of winter squash. In this post, I will tell you:
1. How you, too, can process and roast a fine winter squash like Oof.
2. A general recipe for roasting squash.
3. A recipe for squash soup, which can be made with roasted squash or canned pumpkin.
Dealing with a giant squash was actually a lot easier than I had feared. And, because squash is pretty inexpensive, you can eat of whole lot of it for only a few bucks. Roasted squash does well in the freezer so you can incorporate it into soups or stews for several months. We have made soup twice and still have some squash left. Just make sure to store your squash in a sturdy container. We put some into the thinner, cheaper kind of plastic-ware; the lid shrunk in the freezer, and some of our squash got frostbite.
The Super Squash Challenge!
Step 1: Wipe down your squash to remove any mud/dirt. Set it on a sizable and sturdy cutting board. Select a sharp cleaver or other heavy sharp knife. Yelling your best possible “hi-yah”, whack the squash as close as you can to its center with one swift motion. If you only make it part way through, you can push on both ends of the knife and work it through the rest.
Step 2: Scoop out the seeds and pulp and discard. Chop the squash into smaller pieces and arrange with the rind facing down on foil (or Silpat) lined baking sheets.
Step 3: Roast in a 375° oven for about 90 minutes or until the squash is tender when poked with a fork.
Step 4: While the rind is still warm, scoop out the squash. Store in the freezer in a durable, airtight container, or sprinkle with a little cinnamon and brown sugar for a tasty treat fresh from the oven!
For a smaller squash, like a butternut, that you plan to finish off the same day, you will want to alter this recipe slightly. First, halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and gunk in the center. Arrange the halves rind down on a lined baking sheet. Brush the flesh of the squash with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with brown sugar (about 2 tsp). Roast the squash in a 400° oven for about 25 minutes, until you can easily stick a fork into it.
Smoky Squash Soup
Servings: About 6 bowlfulls.
Prep time: 10 min.
Cook time: 35 min.
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 large leaves of chard, coarsely chopped
2-3 jalapenos, diced
4-5 cloves of minced garlic
5 medium red potatoes, coarsely chopped
2 cups pureed cooked squash or 1 cup canned pumpkin
1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup soy milk
Chopped cilantro or parsley (optional topping)
- If using frozen roasted squash, let it thaw overnight and then puree it in a food processor. A blender can be used in a pinch, but then chop the roasted squash into smaller pieces first. Alternatively, you can follow these directions for microwaving a sugar pumpkin to create the pumpkin puree or use canned pumpkin, which can be found in most grocery stores.
- Despite all the spices, we have never found this dish to be spicy. If you really don’t like spicy food, you can use less of the chili and chipotle powders and skip the cayenne pepper.
1. Chop all vegetables; set aside onions and garlic.
2. In a pot or large skillet with high sides, saute onions and chard in olive oil over medium-high heat for several minutes, until onions become translucent. Add garlic and cook about a minute.
3. Add broth, squash, potatoes, jalapenos, and beans. Stir in oregano, chili and chipotle powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for 30 min.
4. Remove from heat, and let cool for several minutes. Then, stir in soy milk. Top with parsley or cilantro and serve.
All of these recipes were developed with help and inspiration from some other hard-working food bloggers. You can check the original soup recipe at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and some more info on the Blue Hubbard squash from Dave's Cupboard.