Acorn Squash is one of the hard-shell “winter squashes” that are widely enjoyed, particularly in the fall and winter months.
Personally, I love Acorn Squash because it’s such a versatile vegetable, and because of that, I’m surprised it’s not used more often by chefs. In the end, its sweet-potato-like qualities put its use halfway between a starch and a vegetable, making it as suitable as an ice cream flavor as it is along side a roast.
Good Tasting and Good for You
A cup of Acorn Squash is only 56 calories, only one of which is from fat. It also has other great nutritional components, such as fiber, vitamin A, C, B-6, iron, and potassium. Its sweet, golden-orange flesh is particularly suited to dishes like soups, casseroles, stuffing, and pastries. Of course, it’s also great as a vegetable side dish.
In recipes, Acorn Squash pairs exceptionally well with bacon, brown sugar, butter, garlic, honey, maple syrup, nutmeg, cinnamon, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and sage. It’s also an excellent plate companion with roasted chicken and pork.
The Basic Cooking Method
The most common method of cooking Acorn Squash involves cutting it in half lengthwise (through the stem) and then scooping out the seeds (like a pumpkin), buttering and seasoning the exposed flesh, and finally turning each half, cut side down, on a cookie sheet with a little water, and roasting at 375 F until tender (about 45 minutes).
From there, the squash can be turned flesh side up and finished with a glaze or scooped away from its rind-like skin and mashed, pureed, or cubed for other uses.
If you’d like to try a new recipe for Acorn Squash, below is one I particularly like that uses 2 cups of this cooked, mashed squash. It tastes surprisingly like pumpkin pie!
Acorn Squash & Honey Pie
Makes 1 – 9” Pie Serves 6
2 Cups Acorn Squash, Cooked, Mashed Well 4 Eggs, Extra Large ¾ Cup Evaporated Milk (or Half & Half) ¼ Cup Honey ½ Cup Brown Sugar 1 ½ tsp Cinnamon ¼ tsp Ground Ginger Pinch Nutmeg ½ tsp Salt 1 9” Pie Shell (unbaked)
To Garnish: Sweetened Whipped Cream Toasted Pecans
Mix together the above ingredients until well blended, and then strain and pour into an unbaked 9” diameter pie shell (homemade or store bought). Bake at 375 for approximately 1 hour or until the custard-like filling is firm. Chill and serve with whipped cream and toasted pecans.