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Winter Squash Recipes


On the menu:

Moroccan Tagine of Pumpkin and Lentils
Melted Golden Squash
Winter Squash Soup



Moroccan Tagine of Pumpkin and Lentils

A tagine is a North African ceramic cooking utensil that gives its name to a variety of stews. For this tagine you can use pumpkin, butternut squash or acorn squash. Serve with couscous for a complete dinner.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 chili peppers, sliced thin
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup tomato puree
2 pound piece of pumpkin squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 pound greens, blanched and chopped coarsely

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions, chili peppers, and cook for about 10 minutes, add the spices and continue to cook until onions are tender.
  2. Add the lentils, tomatoes and tomato puree and water just to cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Peel and cube the squash and add to the lentils. Simmer until tender.
  4. Add greens to the pan during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with rice or couscous. You could also do this stew with white beans.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 256
Fat: 6 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 30 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 41 grams
Dietary Fiber: 15 grams
Protein: 14 grams
% calories from fat: 19%
% calories from saturated fat: 3%

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Melted Golden Squash — Zucca Disfatta

This recipe is from my book, Cucina Ebraica, Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. The yellow-orange squash of the Veneto is often called zucca barucca. For Jews, barucca is related to baruch, the Hebrew word for "blessed." Non-Jewish Italians say this name is dialect for verruca, meaning bumpy and wartlike, describing the outer peel of the squash. What we do know for sure is that there are many Italian Jewish (as well as Spanish and Moroccan Jewish) recipes that call for the zucca barucca, the pumpkin squash that was brought to Italy by the Sephardim from Spain and Portugal. Disfatta means "defeated" or "decomposed" squash, in other words, melted and quite soft. Baking the squash provides a richer taste than boiling it. This recipe is from the Veneto, Ferrara to be exact, and traditionally was served to break the fast at the end of Yom Kippur. It calls for fresh citron, which is sweeter and more aromatic than grated lemon zest. You'll find, however, that the sweetness of the squash will help balance any slight bitterness of the lemon zest. Some versions of this dish add a pinch of cinnamon; others add chopped parsley and rosemary.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 or 2 hard-skinned yellow squashes such as butternut,
banana, or acorn, 3 pounds total weight
3 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely minced citron,
or 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chopped fresh mint, flat-leaf parsley or rosemary (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375°F.
  2. Prick the squash or squashes with the tip of a knife and place in a pan in the oven.
  3. Bake until tender when pierced, about 50 to 60 minutes, depending on size.
  4. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, cut in half. Scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Scoop out the flesh and pass it through a food mill placed over a bowl, or mash it with a potato masher. You should have about 3 cups purée.
  5. Warm the olive oil or butter in a sauté pan over low heat. Add the onion and sauté until very soft and sweet, about 15 minutes.
  6. Add the puréed squash, season with salt and pepper, and add the citron or lemon zest and cinnamon, if using.
  7. Cook over very low heat, stirring often, until dry, about 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with mint, parsley, or rosemary, if you like.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 175
Fat: 7 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 9 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 29 grams
Dietary Fiber: 8 grams
Protein: 3 grams
% calories from fat: 34%
% calories from saturated fat: 5%

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Winter Squash Soup

Pumpkin squash is the basis for many Mediterranean soups and vegetable stews. In Morocco, cooked chickpeas or rice may be added. In France, the soup may be thickened with rice, leeks used instead of onions and the soup garnished with croutons and grated parmesan cheese. In Greece, it may be thickened with semolina and garnished with thinly sliced sautéed onions, chopped parsley and olive oil. In Italy, it might be garnished with chopped sage or croutons and parmesan or pecorino cheese. Chopped cooked greens can added as well.

Most recipes for pumpkin or butternut squash soup have you peel and cube the uncooked squash and then add these chunks to the pot. We have seen lots of cut fingers with this technique as the raw squashes can be large, hard and a bit unwieldy. Therefore we bake the squash first. It is easier on the hands, and the slightly roasted flavor adds a wonderful dimension to the soup.

Serves 6

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced or diced
optional: 1/4 teaspoon each ground coriander, cinnamon,
2 pounds peeled, diced pumpkin squash
6 to 8 cups stock or water or as needed
1/2 cup cooked rice

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Warm the olive oil in a large soup kettle over moderate heat.
  2. Cook the onion until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add spices and cook a few minutes longer.
  3. Add the squash cubes and the stock or water. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until squash is tender.
  4. To bake the squash preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick each squash with the point of a knife so it won't explode when it bakes. Bake for about an hour, until the squash feels somewhat soft to the touch and a knife penetrates the skin easily.
  5. Let the squash cool until you can handle them without pain. Then cut them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Scoop out the pulp and reserve.
  6. Add to the softened onions and simmering stock and simmer 2 minutes.
  7. Puree the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Put soup back in the pot and add the rice and warm through. Add stock or water as needed. Ladle into bowls and serve with the garnish of your choice.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 142
Fat: 7 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 3 milligrams
Total Carbohydrates: 19 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 3 grams
% calories from fat: 43%
% calories from saturated fat: 6%

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