My husband, Jason, first met my extended family at my sister’s wedding. My mom is one of seven, all married with children.My dad is one of three. In total, there were more than 50 family members present. I love Jason’s retelling of this first meeting.
“I was waiting for a blood sacrifice at midnight,” he says. “They were all so friendly. Every single one of them. I thought it was a cult.”
So, it shouldn’t surprise you then, that when my happy family gets together, conducting a squash tasting seems perfectly normal. This is exactly what Mom, Dad and I did last fall after visiting the local farmers market. We took four squashes – Buttercup, Ambercup, Delicata and Sweet Dumpling – roasted them with thyme and olive oil and compared. Delicata was the clear favorite: sweet, mild, firm and smooth textured*. It is also the perfect squash for this recipe.
Easy to peel, Delicata is perfect for breaking down to a 1/2″ dice. It’s light, sweetness balances beautifully with the cider glaze, mellow herbs and brightened with a splash of Sherry vinegar. It is tender enough to cook in just about 15-20 minutes.
How good is this recipe? I made it last week for dinner guests. Our friend Gerry pulled me aside before dinner and said, “Don’t be offended if I skip the squash. You really don’t want me to eat it unless you want to see me throw it back up. I hate squash.” After dinner, with a glint in his eye, he said, “I admit it. I tried a bite. It was delicious!” I was glad. Throwing up at the table would have really killed the mood.
*Buttercup was our second favorite. Richer, but still mild and sweet. Ambercup could be easily mistaken for sweet potatoes. Sweet Dumpling was similar to Delicata. It’s a reasonable substitute in a pinch, but grab Delicata if you can find it.
Cider Glazed Delicata Squash
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs chopped sage
- 2 tbs chopped thyme
- 4 cups Delicata squash, in 1/2″ cubes (1 large or 2 small)
- 2 cups apple cider
- Sherry vinegar
- Heat a 12” sauté pan over medium heat. Melt butter in pan.
- Add herbs and sauté without browning, 1-2 minutes.
- Add squash, and sauté 3-5 minutes, browning the squash lightly.
- Add cider, bring to a simmer and reduce heat and cook uncovered.
- As the squash cooks, the cider will reduce to a glaze. Add additional water, 1/4 cup at a time, if squash needs more cooking time.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of Sherry vinegar.