Winter Squashes Sautéed with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans (Recipe)

More pumpkin, please: What to do with October’s signature squash



Photograph by Ben Fink

By the time October 31 rolls around, you may be sick and tired of seeing pumpkins everywhere. But now is actually the ideal time to be reminded of all the goodness inside these orange orbs.

Pumpkins are, of course, part of the winter squash family. Many people don’t realize that nearly every part of this fruit can be eaten: The pulp is used in pies, breads, soups, and more; the blossoms are often breaded and fried; and the roasted seeds make a tasty and nutritious snack (some people eat them with the shell; some without. The shell guarantees that you’ll get a whopping serving of zinc). In general, pumpkins pack a powerful nutritional punch. Full of cancer-fighting beta carotene, they are a great source of fiber and offers healthy doses of tryptophan and vitamin C.

There are hundreds of pumpkin varieties, with some being better for carving, and some ideal for baking and eating. The sugar pie pumpkin is one of the most popular varieties; with its thin skin and sweet, non-grainy fruit, it is today’s go-to pumpkin for pies. (Although you should be aware that when you open up a can of pumpkin pie “filling,” the bright orange fruit has likely come from the hubbard squash — not a pumpkin!)

In general, winter squash are characterized by their thick, hard skin and long shelf life; if stored properly, they can last up to a year. In the recipe at right, chefs at the Culinary Institute mix up pumpkin with two other winter squash varieties. Acorn squash is sweet and nutty with a smooth texture; butternut is also sweet and nutty, but its flavor intensifies the longer you keep it. In fact, the flavor is often at its peak after three month’s storage. 

For more pumpkin recipes, visit hvmag.com/recipes.

Winter Squashes Sautéed with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans

Serves 4

Removing the rind from a hard-skin squash can be a challenge. Give yourself plenty of room to work, and be sure to cut a thin slice from the bottom or side of the squash to help it stay flat on the cutting board. Or you can opt to use frozen cubed squash instead.

  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 1 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup diced or julienned butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced or julienned acorn squash
  • 1 cup diced or julienned pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper as needed
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the pecans on a shallow baking pan and toast them approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown. Set aside.
  2. Combine the dried cranberries with boiling water. Allow them to plump for 10 to 15 minutes. Chop them coarsely and set aside.
  3. Bring the broth to a boil over high heat in a skillet. Add the squash and pumpkin. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cover, increase the heat to high, and allow any excess moisture to cook away, about two to three minutes.
  4. Drain the cranberries and add them to the skillet along with the pecans, butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook for another two minutes, stirring gently to distribute all of the ingredients evenly. Serve immediately.

This recipe is from the Culinary Institute of America Vegetables cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman, 2007), available for purchase at bookstores nationwide or at www.ciaprochef.com/fbi/books/vegetables.html.

 

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