I mentioned buttercup squash in a recent post, and realized through comments that some people have never heard of this wonderful winter squash variety. It is our very favorite!
You can read much more about buttercup squash here, including its nutritional profile: Buttercup Squash. It has a deep, rich, almost sweet flavor that we really enjoy.
It isn't watery like some winter squashes can be. It tends to be on the dry side and sometimes when mashing the boiled squash, one has to add some of the cooking water to make it a better consistency for mashing and serving.
That said, my preferred way to cook buttercup squash is to bake it. You wash the squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish. Add a little water to the dish, and bake the squash at 350º for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is tender. You can serve it different ways -- scoop the flesh out and mash it, adding butter and seasonings; or turn the halves cavity side up and add a little butter and brown sugar or maple syrup.
I also like to turn buttercup squash into a hearty main dish by baking and stuffing it, usually with sausage of some type. The other night I had just such a meal planned, but I tweaked it as I went along and the result was such a good autumn meal that I just had to share it. You will want to start about 1 1/2 hours before you want to eat.
AUTUMN STUFFED SQUASH
1 medium buttercup squash
1 package chicken breakfast sausage in the apple maple flavor
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used frozen)
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (or to taste)
Brown sugar or maple syrup
Salt & pepper
Bake the squash as directed above for about 45 minutes. Near the end of the baking time, slice the breakfast sausage and saute it in a small skillet in a little olive oil, adding the onions and cranberries. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Remove the squash from the oven and turn the halves over so the cavity side is up, replacing them in the baking dish. Place a dab of butter and a spoonful of brown sugar or maple syrup in each one, then sprinkle with salt and pepper and fill the cavities with the sausage mixture. Return to the oven until the sausage is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.
I like to bake potatoes at the same time as the squash for a nice hearty oven meal. Add a salad, and supper is ready.
If you can't find buttercup squash in your part of the country, kabocha squash would be the closest in flavor and consistency for a substitute. I hope you enjoy this recipe if you try it!