Delicata Squash with Apples and Chili Spices

Thanksgiving was wonderful but exhausting.  Sometimes I wonder why I spend two days cooking for one twenty minute meal.  Then I remember all the leftovers, and go, “Oh, yeah.”  Everyone can fend for themselves for a few meals.  The downside of it is that because I don’t cook for a bit after the holiday, I have no new recipes.

That being said, we are still on our winter squash kick (although we have cut back to eating them once or twice a week instead of nearly every damn meal) and I’ve got a couple of winter squash recipes that I have not posted yet.  So you get them this week.

Aren’t you thrilled?

This first one is an adaptation of a recipe I found online – it originally was slices of delicata squash sprinkled with chili powder and cumin and drizzled with maple syrup, then roasted in the oven.  I’m trying to cut back on the amount of natural sweeteners I cook with – namely honey and maple syrup – so I added sweet onion and tart Granny Smith apples, and instead of roasting it in the oven, I parboiled the squash briefly and pan-roasted it in a cast iron skillet.

I have to to tell you – it is delicious.

The first time I made this, I served it with halibut I seared on the stove and finished by roasting in the oven (the picture is from that meal); the second time was with Salmon with Green Chile Sauce – what can I say?  It’s good with fish.  It would be very good with chicken, as well.  Or pork.  Or as a brunch side dish.  It is an easy and unusual substitute for the normal side dishes of potatoes, pasta or rice.

Delicata Squash with Apples and Chili Spices

Delicata Squash with Apples and Chili Spices

serves 4

1 delicata squash (3/4 to 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 medium tart cooking apple, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2″ dice

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil; parboil the squash cubes for 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain and drop into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Once cool, drain again and set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not quite smoking.  Add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the squash, apple on onion and reduce the heat slightly to medium.  Add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and garlic powder and cook, stirring frequently, until the squash and apples are fork tender and the onion is soft and fragrant.  Serve immediately.

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We picked up our turkey – all 20 pounds of her – yesterday afternoon.

In the parking lot of the main branch of the Greater Podunk Public Library.

(As an aside, let me just say that if S.510 passes, we may be trading parking lots and farmers markets for dark alleys and dank basements.)

The farmers we bought our turkey from have a stall at the farmers market in the summer, but are located nearly two hours from us – they came to the city (*snort* yeah, Greater Podunk could be considered a city by some, I suppose) to deliver the fresh turkeys they’d taken orders for back in August.  We were there nearly 10 minutes earlier than we were told they’d show up, and there were already people ready to pick up their turkeys.  Since the turkeys were killed and dressed the day before we bought them, we had no idea how much they were going to weigh.

I just love surprises.

I’ve never bought a really fresh, pastured turkey before (although last year we purchased a minimally processed Bell and Evans turkey), so I’m sort of treading in new territory here.  As of last night, she’s soaking in a brining solution of water, kosher salt, pure maple syrup, freshly squeezed orange juice, cloves, star anise, onions and peppercorns.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

You really have to love Thanksgiving – how many holidays are there that you spend an entire two days cooking just in preparation?

The fun starts today at noon, when I leave the office and Be heads to Cleveland to pick up Miss J from the airport (Jolly and The G Man will be arriving later this evening).  Today I will:

  • Pre-bake the brown and serve rolls
  • Bake the cornbread for the dressing
  • Make the cranberry sauce
  • Make and assemble the green bean casserole, sans onions
  • Make and assemble the sweet potatoes
  • Bake the pies

Tomorrow I will:

  • Make the mashed potatoes
  • Make the brussels sprouts
  • Make the butternut squash souffle
  • Make the dressing
  • Roast the turkey
  • Heat the green bean casserole
  • Heat the sweet potatoes
  • Brown and serve the rolls
  • Make whipped cream for the pies

I can deal with that.

What are you doing/cooking for The Big Day and when will you begin?