Acorn Squash Rings with Apple Glaze
October 23, 2011
Nothing says fall like winter squash… and apples… and walnuts, so clearly this is the perfect side dish to make NOW. We are big fans of butternut squash around here, check out the Butternut and Black Bean Salad from last year. This year though, somehow butternut squash never made it into the ground and we are the happily storing quite a few acorn squashes that took their place in the planting beds. There are lots of fun ways to cook up these beautiful treats, but my favorite is to make Acorn Squash Rings with Apple Glaze.
Take care in slicing the squash, as that is as good a way as any to loose a finger. It helps to take a small slice off of one side, then place the cut side down. That will give the squash some stability as you hack into it. Scoop out the membrane and seeds and they are ready to steam. Do not forget to try on some squash glasses for size! Note: at least with my kids, they are more likely to eat the veggies if they have a hand in making/playing with them! (For more ideas on getting kids to eat their veggies check out this post.)
This recipe is not mine and if you look you will find many versions on the web. While that may be a turn-off to some, I say it is evidence of a great recipe that is worth sharing. My version uses non-clarified butter and less of it, but otherwise it is basically the same. The tender squash soaks in the sweet and tangy apple glaze and the candied walnuts add a pleasant crunch. These rings look beautiful on the plate, making it great for a weeknight dinner or special enough for a holiday. My mother-in-law first introduced me to this yummy dish with asparagus laced through the centers of the rings (as you will find is the most common version.) I opted not to include the asparagus this time (there is no chance of finding local asparagus in October), but love the way they make this into a truly elegant side dish. If we have any squash leftover in springtime, I will definitely add them in. The acorn squash rings are attractive enough to stand on their own, or fill the centers with a scoop of wild rice or stuffing.
Acorn Squash Rings with Apple Glaze
1 acorn squash
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons apple juice
Slice the squash horizontally into 1-inch thick rings. (To prevent the squash from rolling, first take a thin slice off one side to create a flat base.) Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and membrane, deposit in compost. Alternatively, you can roast the seeds as you do pumpkin seeds. They are not quite as fleshy, but still tasty.
Steam the squash for 8-10 minutes or until fork tender. You want them to be cooked through, but not so soft that they will not hold their shape. Set the cooked squash aside.
In a medium-sized pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and walnuts. Stir until the sugar is light brown and the walnuts are coated. The sugar will begin to clump up, that is fine. Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar. Stir constantly until the mixture reduces by half. Turn heat to low.
Have a serving platter ready. Working with one squash ring at a time, lay the squash down in the glaze, then flip to coat the other side. Remove the ring to the serving platter. Repeat with the remaining rings. Spoon any remaining glaze and walnuts over the top. Serve immediately or loosely tent with foil and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
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