18 Savory Things to do with Winter Squash (leftover or otherwise)
Or to put it another way, 18 things to do with mashed winter squash that do not contain added sugar. ( I thought there were 25 for a while there, but there aren’t.)
Postwise, this is sort of backwards – choosing and storing (and growing) will be coming along shortly. But for the day after Thanksgiving, the thing to address is what to do when you are starting here:
(1)*Absolutely the easiest thing but really great: Butter a jellyroll pan. Spread on the room temperature squash in a layer not more than an inch thick. Put it about 4 inches under the broiler and cook until heated and well-flecked with brown and a burned spot or two is ok.
(2 – 6) SOUP: saute chopped onion in butter, season, add 1 part squash and 2 or 3 parts liquid, depending on original squash thickness.
*Southwestern – cumin, oregano, pinch of clove, powdered ancho chile (or some chopped chipotle in adobo), chicken broth, shredded cilantro on top at the end
*Indianish – garlic, garam masala, fenugreek, a little turmeric but not much, chicken broth, dollop of yogurt in the soup bowls
*Not Thai but nice – green curry paste, half chicken broth, half coconut milk, some thinly sliced scallions
*Cream of Coral – salt, white pepper, shredded orange zest, equal quantities squash and pureed canned tomatoes (not canned tomato puree, and if you have frozen tomatoes this is a good place to use them) milk
*Squash and Chestnut – thyme, nutmeg, 1 part crumbled roasted chestnuts to 2 parts of squash. Chicken broth. Chopped parsley on top at the end
(6 – 11) SAVORY SQUASH-CRUST PIES: Bind the mashed squash with 1 beaten egg for every 1½ cups. Season quite highly with salt and white pepper. Heavily butter the pie pan, press on a thick layer of panko or other coarse dry breadcrumbs. Using small amounts at a time, starting with the sides, press on a roughly ½ inch layer of the squash. Fill and bake.
* More squash, combined with onion and seasoned any way described above for soup, bound with a couple of beaten eggs and smoothed with a small amount of dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, sour cream… soy milk would probably work fine too; I’ve never tried it). Bake as for custard – until a knife blade comes out clean – then serve with something crunchy on top. Buttered crumbs, toasted nutmeats… we like crushed blue corn chips with sesame seeds.
* Creamed spinach
* Broccoli raab with garlic and pine nuts and lemon
* layers of Mozzarella and Grilled Eggplant ending with the mozzarella. Tomato sauce optional
* Turkey and Mushrooms in mustard cream sauce
(1o – 13) Casseroles: in pans no more than 3 inches deep, 3 layers of mashed squash interspersed with 2 layers of:
* Cooked Shrimp ; dollop the surface with Pesto right before serving
* grated sharp Cheddar and Jalapenos (and black beans and frozen corn); a few extra shreds of cheddar on top shortly before it’s done and then under the broiler
* cooked crumbled Italian Sausage and fresh Sage leaves not too many
* Onions browned in olive oil, Dried Tomatoes, shredded Nutty Hard Cheese- Vermont Shepherd, Grana Parmesan, Manchego
(14 – 16) ”Fritters”: Season (see soups 1-3 for ideas), bind with egg and a little flour. Form into patties the size of small burgers. Dip in beaten egg, encrust with panko or cornmeal and let dry on a rack for an hour or two to firm up. Fry in a generous layer of tasty fat – olive oil, butter, duck fat, bacon grease – over medium heat, turning gently only once so they don’t fall apart.
Fritters: Real fritters are deep fried which of course you can do if you’re up to it and very good they are, too. Prepare as above but form into small balls about the size of walnuts. Fry in corn, peanut or canola oil or pure lard not the stuff in the boxes.
(17 and 18) Dips and spreads:
* Mix 1 part mashed squash to 2 parts aioli – terrific for moistening leftover turkey
* Two parts squash, 1 part tahini and really a lot of lemon and garlic
You can also throw some into the brioche dough if you make a few adjustments; a recipe for another day.