Fall is here and it is time to make my house smell divine! Squash is a fall staple, but most everyone I know stumbles with how to prepare it. There is nothing wrong with preparing it the “traditional” way (roasting it with a “little” butter and brown sugar), but we all know that when it comes to foods, I am anything but “traditional”.
When growing up, I didn’t like the taste or texture of squash, but like many things (eh-hem, wine), I have learned to thoroughly enjoy it now. This recipe adds sweetness to the squash through dried fruit, apples and apple cider. The spices are similar to a pumpkin pie, so when you’re eating it, it is almost like biting into a crustless pumpkin pie (but none of the guilt!).
You can use any type of squash, but I chose a butternut (for its texture and sweetness) and an acorn (because I had it on hand).
To make: Peel and chop the squash.
The butternut is much easier to peel. Simply cut off the top and bottom, then slice off the peel with a sharp knife or peel with a sharp vegetable peeler.
Cut into cubes. Mine were about 1″ cubes.
Cutting an acorn squash can be a bit trickier because of the ridges. To peel an acorn squash, first microwave (whole) for 3 minutes.
Take a sharp paring knife and slice the peel off. Because the squash was microwaved a bit, the outside has softened and is much easier to cut. I also HIGHLY recommend these Rikon knives (or other quality knive) to make your life a lot easier.
Add the cut-up squash and apples to a slow cooker. Stir in dried cherries (you can use cranberries or raisins), ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and apple cider.
Stir until everything is coated.
Slow Cooker Squash with Apples
All you need:
3 lbs squash, peeled and chopped (about 5 cups)
3 large sweet apples, chopped (3 cups)
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup apple cider
All you do:
In a slow cooker combine all ingredients and stir together. Cover and cook on low setting for 3-4 hours or on high for 1 1/2 hours. If using a conventional oven, cover and bake at 325 degrees until fork tender.
*I used half butternut squash and half acorn squash, but any squash will do. You can even substitute sweet potatoes for the squash.