In the Kitchen: Delicata Squash with Caramelized Shallots & Sherry

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Erik and Mae were up for dinner last night, and I made up the delicata squash I purchased when the three of us went to the Portland Farmer's Market.  I think it might have been a new dish for them, and I'd been looking at what vegetable to make to round out our menu for the night.  When so many farmers at the farmer's market had these, it seemed like a good choice to me.  

Want to know what else was on the menu?  Grilled Jerk Chicken made from a bottled marinade.  It's delicious served with my blueberry chutney.  Also, what kind of a cook would I be if I didn't use up the tons of tomatoes we currently have?  So I made a Late Summer Tomato and Roasted Pepper Salad, a recipe that appeared in our local newspaper last year.  I made it with store-bought tomatoes last year, and the ones from my greenhouse were so much more flavorful.

But I always like to start with dessert first, don't you?  And so also on the menu was a new apple pie recipe I tried.  The recipe came from Food & Wine. 

Once every fall, I make an apple pie when apples come into season around here.  I've been using the same recipe each year, but the crust in my recipe was hard to work with.  When I saw this recipe from Food & Wine, I decided to give it a try.  The crust was so much easier to work with, and it turned out tender and flaky.  Also, I used a large sheet of parchment to roll it out, sprinkled generously with flour.  My biggest problem with pie crust is having it stick to the surface where I'm rolling them out.  When I went to roll the crust onto the rolling pin so that I could move it to the pie plate, it still stuck a little bit, but I could peel the parchment away fairly easily without tearing the crust.  This will be my new go-to recipe for apple pie from now on.

So, on with the squash.  You'll need 1 1/4 pounds of delicata squash, which is about 1 large squash.  I have a little more than that here.  While the recipe claims to make enough for four, I think the servings are a little skimpy.  It's so good, people will be wanting seconds.  Mark my words.

Also, the recipe calls for 1 cup of thinly sliced shallots, which works out to about 2-3 large shallots.  I forgot to get some when I went to the grocery store, and so I used what I had on hand, plain yellow onions.  They worked just fine.  

Also 1/4 cup of dry sherry.  If you want a non-alcoholic alternative to dry sherry, you can substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice or orange juice plus 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla.

Also fresh sage, which I have in abundance in my culinary herb garden.

You'll need 4 teaspoons chopped fine.

Add to those ingredients some salt and pepper, olive oil, and a tablespoon of butter, and you're ready to go.

First peel the squash and cut off the ends.  It's okay to leave the skin that stays where the ridges are.  It's tender enough to eat.  Also, they get a little slippery and hard to hang onto as you're peeling them.  I just put a folded paper towel in my hand and hold them with that.

Cut them in half the long way.

Use a soup spoon to scoop out the seeds.

Then cut them cross-wise into 1/2-inch side slices.

Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add the slices.  Brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.  You'll probably have to do this in at least two batches.  If the pan gets too dry, add a little more olive oil.

Place the browned slices in a single layer in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the dry sherry over.  Then sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Now add another tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to the same skillet.  When the butter is melted, add your sliced shallot (or onion, in my case) along with some salt.

Saute the onion until it is soft and beginning to turn brown.  

Then remove it from the heat.  Add the sage and the remaining 2 tablespoons of the sherry and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Then scatter the shallots over the squash.  Cover the pan with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F. oven until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork (about 25-30 minutes).  

Season it to taste with salt and pepper and enjoy!  It takes a little bit of time to prepare this dish, but I like it because it can be prepared two hours in advance.  Just put it in the oven a half hour before you're ready to serve it.  It's a great choice for Thanksgiving.

And would you believe after all that, I forgot to take a picture of it after it came out of the oven?  Well...here's what we didn't eat.  Yum.

And here's the link to the recipe.  My thanks to Ivy Manning for this great side dish.  Her recipe first appeared in the September, 2008, issue of Fine Cooking magazine.


Denise :) said...

Yum, Barbara, this looks very good! Thanks for the tip on the non-alcoholic substitution, too! :)

quiltzyx said...

I'm a big fan of squash & that Delicata looks great!

Snoodles said...

You can bet that I am going to try that this week! It looks awesome, and fits beautifully into our low carb diet. Yum!