Acorn Squash… With Vermont FLAIR

It is fall, I’m told in many parts of the country. Here in Florida I don’t see much of this change of season unless I take a semi- spontaneous trip a little further north (which barely happens) but I have been told by second hand sources that we are currently in the part of the solar cycle known as autumn. To Many above the mason dixon line this means cooler weathers which mean it is time to harvest some acorn squash.

My preparation couldn’t be simpler. Take a squash and hack it in two. I used my least favorite chefs knife (this is not a job for your shinies) and tapped it through the thick skin from stem to base. Once halved I seeded it and removed as much of the slime with a large spoon until I found a wonderfully orange, firm flesh. My ingredient list is again simple, and putting it all together took such few steps even this incompetent cook couldn’t falter:

  • 1 medium sized acorn squash, firm to the touch, heavier than you would expect it to be
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbs maple syrup, the good stuff. Vermont’s finest shipped monthly thanks to some wonderful parents.
Prehead your oven to 400. Split you ingredient list as you did the squash. I partially melted the butter and liberally rubbed all orange surfaces. Pat on brown sugar to all inside surfaces. I avoided the rim as I expected the sugar to burn that exposed. Finally, pour in the maple syrup. Dab it across as you had the brown sugar, but it will pool. All to be expected. Add about half an inch of water to a baking dish and suspend your newly coated squash over. You can do so with small ramekins, or you can use a pan that is too small to fit both halves of your squash comfortably, so they don’t actually touch the water or bottom of the pan. Mine looked like this:
Throw that in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half. I personally don’t know how long it took mine to finish, as I fell asleep(there are still four walls to the house, I promise). However much time it was it turned out better than I could have expected:
That pool of buttery maple syrup with the browning on the rim… this was so simple and so delicious. I ate it as a meal, I’m not sure how people could reserve this as a side or appetizer- it is well deserving as a centerpiece to an entire meal. I hope you try this, the only thing that you could possibly mess up is by buying a bad squash. Right now is the best time to buy one, for the best price as well. Give it a shot- I promise you will not be disappointed. Especially if you have air carried maple syrup donning every coverable surface.
Posted: November 18th, 2011
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