In the CSA I belong to (intermittently – sometimes I fall off the wagon), there are always one or two items that I don’t immediately have a vision for, which is really what I love about it. Nothing gets you out of your cooking rut faster than being presented with a pile of chard, or a bunch of parsnips, or a spaghetti squash.
Recently there was sorghum, which is a sweet syrup actually made from the family of sorghum grasses, a cousin of molasses, and much like a very thick maple syrup. That got tucked into the pantry. Last week there was acorn squash, and so this dish was actually halfway made by the time it arrived, I just didn’t know it yet.
Peeling acorn squash is a thankless chore, thanks to all of the ridges, and the super hard rind. This is why one of the most common ways to make it is to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill those halves with a bit of butter and something sweet, like maple syrup or honey or brown sugar, and then roast away, cut side up, until the flesh is soft and there is a nice little pool of sweetness resting in the center. You can’t go wrong with that.
But if you slice up the squash, and roast it that way, you’ll get the prettiness of the ruffle-y green exterior contrasting with the orange interior…..and if you roast it until it is very tender you also have the option of eating the rind. Some people don’t like it, but when cooked long enough the rind gets fairly tender, and is definitely edible. It also provides a nice textural contrast to the super soft inside of the squash.
By the way, I meant to use sage in this recipe, but forgot to buy it, so used thyme instead. Next thyme (HA – such a funny person I am) I’ll use sage.
Baked Squash with Chili and Maple Syrup
- 3 medium acorn squash quartered, seeded and sliced crosswise
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons sorghum or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place the squash slices on the foil. In a small bowl combine the butter, sorghum or maple syrup, chili powder, thyme, and salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the squash slices and toss to combine, then spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Roast for 30 to 35 minutes until the squash is tender is nicely browned. Transfer to a shallow serving dish and serve hot or warm.
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