Caramelized Hubbard Squash

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Posted by Miriam Rubin on November 18, 2012

Lately I’ve been on a squash kick. Blue Hubbard has become one of my favorites. Maybe because it’s so odd and lumpy looking and some get huge.

Here is one, sort of medium sized.

Kind of a crazy looking squash. My neighbor brought me two more today that a friend got at the farmers’ market. So now I have more to experiment.

I first roasted one to test a pumpkin pie recipe, which wasn’t published but it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve had.  I think it was due to the squash. I whacked the thing in half, removed the seeds and the stringy bits and roasted it face down on an oiled baking sheet with some water. It’s not as sweet as canned pumpkin so I added more sugar to taste, but it was a great deep color and very flavorful.

A few days later, I made Caramelized Hubbard Squash to take to a party. I was a little scared to cut it up at first, as this can be difficult but strangely, Hubbard doesn’t have a thick skin. Once I’d halved the squash and seeded it, I cut it into serving pieces, generally wedges and put them in a roasting pan.

I added olive oil, honey, ground cumin, cinnamon, salt and freshly ground pepper. I roasted the pieces at 400 degrees for maybe an hour. But when I took them out and tasted, they didn’t seem sweet or crisp. So I added more salt, oil, cinnamon and them sprinkled a bit of brown sugar over all. I baked them until the edges were deep brown and caramelized and the squash was extremely tender.

Because the flesh is so thick and dense, this method works beautifully and everyone seemed to love it. It’s also a very pretty dish.  I need to restest to do a more formal recipe, but this is what the pieces looked like before they were roasted.

Here’s the finished dish.  Some people like to eat the skin, but I am not really convinced. I’ll be making this again for Thanksgiving. It’s a new favorite.

Soup for a Chilly Day

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Posted by Miriam Rubin on November 13, 2012

It’s chilly today, bright part of the day but night comes so much faster. I guess it must be late fall. Which always has me thinking, soup.

Today, I made Split Pea and Vegetable Soup with a meaty ham hock. I added ribbons of late-planted baby chard from the garden. It somehow survived the freeze. I should have snipped some dill from the garden as well. Nothing kills it. But by the time I remembered, it was dark. Maybe I’ll add it tomorrow.
I served it with fresh, hot cornbread, with scallions and corn. All good. And there are leftover and soup to freeze. For another meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipe:
1 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
1 smoked ham hock
10 to 12 cups water
1 medium onion, halved
1 medium carrot, peeled and halved
1 celery stalk, halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
For later:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
about 4 large carrots, peeled, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick, 4 cups
2 medium tender celery stalks, with leaves, sliced 1/2-inch thick, 1 cup
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large leek, halved, sliced 1/2-inch thick, rinsed, 1 heaping cup
4 cups 1-inch ribbons baby chard leaves
Kosher salt, to taste

Put split peas, ham hock, water, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and 10 cups water in a large heavy pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Skim off the foam that rises to the surface. Stir in the sage, thyme, bay leaf and black pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until peas are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the onion halves, carrot, celery and garlic. Remove the ham hock, let it cool a bit, then peel off the skin and any fat. Dice the meat and add to the soup.

In a large, heavy skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic and a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables just start to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until wilted, 2 minutes more.

Add the vegetables to the soup; return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding 1 to 2 cups more water if the soup is too thick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stir in the chard and season to taste with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 15 more minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve hot. With cornbread!

Makes 8 servings