On gourd of the season

Squash is in season. 

One of the season's most flexible delicacies, explore two of the myriad ways in which to prepare the humble squash.

Acorn Squash with Bacon-Chive Crumbs

3 medium-sized acorn squash(peeled, cut into slices and deseeded)
5 cloves garlic
3 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup apple cider
½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp brown sugar
5 slices bacon
½ cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
¼ cup fresh chives, snipped

Add the acorn squash slices, garlic and thyme in a slow cooker. Next, pour in the cider, broth and brown sugar. Leave on low-heat mode for 3 to 6 hours. Near the end of that process, fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp; drain the grease, then finely crumble it and set aside. Cook the panko in the same skillet until golden. Mix the crumbled bacon, panko and chives in a separate bowl. To serve, sprinkle the crumb mixture on top of the cooked acorn squash, which should be moved to a separate platter after cooking.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium-sized butternut squash (cubed, cut into slices and deseeded)
2 tbsp butter 
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 carrot, chopped 
2 potatoes, cubed 
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
Salt and black pepper (to taste)

Roast the squash on high heat until deeply browned. Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the olive oil, onion, carrot, potatoes and roasted squash and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring everything to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the mixture until the vegetables are tender. Season the soup with the chillies, salt and pepper to taste.


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