Mashed winter squash

Orange squashes are supposedly a superfood so I want to eat more of them. I like mashed things and of course anything that has butter and sugar in it, so I found this recipe in The Joy Of Cooking for mashed winter squash. Like the chicken I made before, it’s sort of a no-brainer and doesn’t really need a recipe, but who knows, maybe I’ll learn something new about squash.

Joy calls for whole winter squash that’s been cut up and skin left on- I bought it already cut up and skinned because I am lazy. And because I thought that’s all Trader Joe’s had—when I noticed out of the corner of my eye that they had the whole ones, I quietly snuck away and didn’t look (I’m sure it’s like 10 times cheaper in whole form). It’s hard to cut up butternut squash (I do not recommend it) so it’s better if I just pretend they don’t have it!

Pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe's

Pre-cut butternut squash from Trader Joe's

Now, to make pureed or mashed squash normally I would boil it. But no, Joy calls for baking it at 375 degrees. Sort of…with water. So, like steaming it in the oven? I dunno, but I did it anyway. I was supposed to put the cut-up squash onto a rimmed baking sheet then add 1/4 inch of water and cover with foil. First of all that sounds messy and easy to spill—seriously, 1/4 inch of water on a rimmed baking sheet is practically to the top! And second, I don’t have a rimmed baking sheet. So I used a pie pan. The squash fit perfectly in the pie pan! And the 1/4 inch of water was not anywhere near the top, so no spillage risk.

Joy says that “if desired” halfway through cooking you can brush some butter and sprinkle some brown sugar and nutmeg (or another spice) on it. Well, OF COURSE I “desire” to do this, but since I’m going to be mashing it with butter and brown sugar later, I’ll just leave it alone for now. I wonder if doing that halfway through would add some depth to the flavor. Or if it would just caramelize and get weird and lumpy when mashing later. I dunno, maybe next time I’ll try it. It took about 40 minutes to get to the tender point.

Wow, so this recipe calls for lots of things! Some are optional. Here’s what I opted to use. Since my kitchen is SO SMALL you also get to see things that aren’t in the recipe but are in the kitchen. Like onions. And bananas.

All the stuff needed to make delicious mashed squash.

All the stuff needed to make delicious mashed squash.

I bet you’re curious now, huh? What is all that stuff? You’ll see.

Ok so Joy says to mash the squash with a fork or masher. Then, for every cup of squash mix in 1 TBS butter, 1 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup (I used brown sugar), 1/4th tsp salt, 1/8th tsp ground ginger, 1/8th tsp ground cinnamon (optional). Then you’re supposed to beat it well with  warm heavy cream or orange juice (doesn’t say how much but just to make a soft, smooth puree, also I am going to use a little of both). Then serve it sprinkled with (optional) raisins or chopped nuts. Raisins OR chopped nuts? As if those are interchangeable. Gross. Raisins. I don’t have any chopped nuts laying around, so no on those.  Also optional topping: 1/4 cup well drained crushed pineapple. I have fresh pineapple here! So, what the heck. Let. Us. Do. This. Thing.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.

I used a hand mixer to puree the squash. It came out tasty but a strange texture. Not smooth. Not sure if I didn’t cook it long enough or what. I pureed it for like ever and the texture never got any better. Also, it was a bit on the thin side. I probably used too much juice/cream. But the flavor was really good. The pineapple was good, made it sort of festive. It wouldn’t lose much without it, tho. Then again, whenever you can get extra fruit into your diet, you should. Spices like cinnamon and ginger, too for that matter.

Festive pineapple topping.

Festive pineapple topping.

Served with leftover chicken and some green beans.

Served with leftover chicken and some green beans.