October 24, 2014

Spicy Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash

Spicy Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash


Ahh, a fall Friday evening. What a relief. The weather is finally cooling down after a long, hot summer, and the weekend is finally here after a long, trying week.

Some days, I crave something warm and nourishing, but there just isn't much energy to spare for cooking a meal. The family is waiting to eat, but I am drained. Normally, I am generous with my cooking, but today I am grumpy, and start mumbling something to myself about how I just fed everyone yesterday. This is just how I felt today. I needed to make something cozy and comforting, but also super-easy. Luckily, I had some leftover grilled chicken, but still needed something to go with it. Spicy Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash was my answer.

Acorn squash, the little cousin of the pumpkin, is an easy side dish for a fall supper. Two weeks ago, I picked up this little gem for just $.99, and it has been just sitting in my fridge (nearly forgotten in that wasteland of forgotten produce known as the vegetable bin). Luckily, I found it today as I foraged the refrigerator. That's the beauty of winter squash, though - they last, and last, and last. A winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, etc.) can easily last a month or more if kept cool. If you are lucky enough to have a root cellar, squashes are great keepers to stockpile for the winter. 

I made this acorn squash a little spicy, and a little sweet. Sliced into wedges, sprinkled with salt, pepper, warming spices, and sugar, and then roasted for 45 minutes. So easy, and so delicious. In my recipe, I just leave the hard skin on, and don't bother with peeling. The skin is actually edible, but probably a bit tough for most people. You can just eat around the skin like we do, or use a sharp paring knife to peel each wedge before roasting. 

I will give a little warning here. If you decide to try this recipe, please line your baking sheet with some parchment paper or foil, because you WILL end up with little puddles of blackened sugar under your squash wedges by the time they are finished roasting. This won't affect the squash (you can easily pluck the wedges from the sheet), but I wouldn't want anyone to ruin a pan, or spend all night in the kitchen soaking and scrubbing!

Recipe
Serves 2-4

Ingredients

1 acorn squash
2 teaspoons Kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. In a mixing bowl or pie pan, mix together the salt, pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, and sugar.

3. Slice the stem from the squash, then slice the squash in half (lengthwise, from root to stem end).

4. Scoop the seeds from the squash, then slice each half into 4 wedges. If desired, use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin from each wedge (I like to leave the skin on).

5. Brush each squash wedge with melted butter, then roll in the sugar and spice mixture. Immediately place each wedge, skin side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or on foil that has been oiled with a little olive oil). 

6. Roast for 40-45 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender and browned around the edges.


Spicy Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash


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