Winter squashes are excellent keepers–even on a boat–and make great comfort food during the chilly, rainy weather encountered on the Great Lakes. Stash squash in the bilge or at the bottom of some deep locker; their hard shells protect the naturally sweet and sometimes nutty insides. We bought a medium sized acorn squash before we left Bayfield in June and had it with smoked pork chops from Plath’s Meats in Roger City, MI while anchored out in Brule Harbour in August. (Also served up a side of fresh green beans briefly steamed then sautéed in olive oil with sliced garlic and pine nuts.)
This squash recipe is adapted from a stovetop dish presented by chefs Paul Laubignat and Laura Anderson (remember Chez Paul or La Brasserie in Minneapolis or Nancy’s Landing in Waconia?) at a cooking class I took long ago at Shady Acres Herb Farm outside of Chaska. The combination of garlic and sweet brown sugar, honey and ginger might seem off beam, but it is stellar in this dish. If the honey and brown sugar seem redundant, go with the brown sugar. Use your imagination and incorporate pine nuts or almonds, perhaps cranberries. This is also a fantastic side for Thanksgiving and other special winter meals.
The stovetop version is at the end of the recipe. It is also excellent, quicker and allows more servings of a given squash, but it requires skinning and cubing the squash. I like the simpler and nuttier flavor from this “halve and bake” approach, especially on a boat: less knife play and no boiling water on a rolling platform.
Sweet and Garlicky Baked Squash
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
- 1 whole Winter squash, halved: Acorn, Butternut, Buttercup, Hubbard, etc.
- 1 teaspoon Garlic — Minced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger — Minced or dried
- 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 tablespoon Honey
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Italian parsley — chopped
- Salt and pepper — to taste
- Additional Italian parsley for garnish — coarsely chopped
- Set oven to 350 degrees F. Halve squash lengthwise from stem and scoop out seeds. Carefully pierce flesh of squash with a fork, skewer or knife; do not puncture skin. Slice a small piece off bottom to allow squash to sit without rolling or tipping.
- Divide remaining ingredients and place in scooped out centers of squash.
- Place squash on lipped baking sheet or shallow cake pan. Place in oven for 60 minutes.
- Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve hot.
Here’s Paul and Laura’s stovetop version. Note the slightly different ingredients:
Peel and cut butternut squash into triangles. Cook squash in boiling salted water for ten minutes or until tender. Do not overcook. Drain cooking water, add butter, garlic, fresh minced ginger, honey, salt and pepper. Just before serving, shake and swirl pan to toss the squash with parsley.