In my continuing desire to expand my vegetable repertoire, I bought a couple of winter squash the other day. Tonight I was fixing baked potatoes and some chicken breasts that had been frozen in a marinade. I decided squash would go well and could be baked in the same oven. Efficiency! Often I cheat with baked potatoes and microwave them until they’re almost done, then pop them in the oven to crisp up the skin a bit but tonight I baked them the whole time, starting off at 400 and figuring on an hour.
I read a few recipes for acorn squash and while the cooking methods varied slightly, almost all of them had maple syrup and butter or oil. You could bake the squash whole (piercing it first I presume), then cube and toss with the syrup. You could cut it in a half, scoop out the seeds, lay cut side down in a dish, adding a little water, and bake it, then cube it, and toss. You could half it, lay it down and cook it in water, then stuff it with various things. You could cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, slice it crosswise in 1″ slices, toss with the sauce and then bake. That’s what I chose to do, partially because I’d already sliced it in half and cleaned it out by the time I went to look for a recipe.
The funny thing was that each recipe called for 6 pounds of acorn squash or 6 squash to feed 6 as a side dish. That seems like a lot of squash! It was just the three of us here (myself and two children) and we ate about half the squash. (I bagged and frozen the rest for soup some creative night.) Do other people really eat a whole one of these as a side dish? Or was mine just extra large?
Anyway, here’s what I did and the girls declared it only “okay.” But I did notice that they ate a fair serving and the elder one went back and had seconds. When she saw me watching she said “I didn’t have any fruit or anything at lunch so I thought I should have more. It’s not that bad.” Here’s what I did.
Baked Acorn Squash with Maple Syrup
- 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1 Tbs oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Cut it crosswise into 1" slices after cleaning it. Mix the sauce together, then toss with the slices.
- Pour it all into a baking dish and bake about 30 minutes at 400, maybe a bit longer.
I just put it in until it looked almost done, then put the chicken in a baking dish and baked it ten or fifteen minutes.