Butternut squash is very healthy, full of beta-carotenes that convert into Vitamin A, and are good protection against many diseases such as breast cancer. Carotenoids protect against heart disease, and a one-cup serving of butternut squash contains nearly half the recommended dose of Vitamin C. It is easy to prepare but takes a little time. Cut the top end off, near the stem, slice in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Oil the skin with butter or oil and then place the two sides skin side up in a casserole dish or roasting pan with water and roast for 45 minutes at 400. When done and tender scoop out the meat and use however you wish. Also with a potato peeler you can skin the squash, cut it into chunks and boil it. Another option is to slice the two sections into ½ inch slices, layer in the dish and pour over the slices maple syrup and butter. Cook for about 30 minutes and serve with the skin on. I chose not to eat the skin but some of my family liked to eat the skin too.
One of the first things I did with this squash was to roast the two slices skin down, with butter and seasonings on the flesh side. I think I seasoned it with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Another tasty option is to season it with cinnamon, orange juice, and syrup. If you cut the squash into only two slices and scoop out the seeds and membranes, you now have a well to fill with flavoring. I read today the idea of filling that well with spinach and feta cheese, wrapping the whole thing in foil and grilling it.
I take a cooking magazine, Cooking Light, and the March issue had a Thai Butternut Soup recipe. My family loved it, including my soup hating daughter. This recipe will be fixed again.
Here is the recipe I fixed. I never have all the ingredients, and almost always I change recipes as I go along. Search the March 2013 issue of Cooking Light for the full Thai version.
Thai Butternut Soup
1 tsp canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 ½ t minced fresh garlic
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 cup chicken broth
2 t brown sugar
pureed meat of 1 butternut squash
1 can light coconut milk
¼ t salt
½ cup chopped unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 lime, cut into wedges
Before starting, roast the butternut squash in oven at 400 for 45 minutes. Scrape out the cooked meat and puree for the recipe below. I did all this on the same day, but you can plan ahead and prepare the squash the day before.
Heat oil over medium high heat in a saucepan. Add onions and cook 3 minutes, then add garlic and ginger for 45 seconds, stirring constantly. This smells so good!
Add broth and next 4 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring often. Carefully blend the soup in parts, covering the blender with a towel. The soup is very hot and can burn if it splatters out. Once all the soup is blended, serve in bowls topped with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
The original recipe calls for fish sauce, which I never have, but I am sure that the addition of this sauce would make the soup have a more authentic Thai flavor. When I fixed this I had no peanuts, so I substituted almond slivers.
If you have other recipes you have tried, feel free to share them.