Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

Amazingly, as I write this I note that is recipe#450! Outside today (August 19) the skies are sunny here in our part of Mexico, but the winds are beginning to howl with the approach of Hurricane Grace. Thankfully, it will pass south of us, but we still expect winds and rain.

Rarely do we see acorn squash in our part of Mexico; for that matter, we rarely see butternut squash or spaghetti squash. Whenever we find them, we grab them up! This latest squash recipe, incorporating sweet potatoes, is awesome!

Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

If you need to feed four people,use two acorn squash…

  • 1 large acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream OR coconut milk with cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 5-6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil for the sweet potatoes only (optional)
  • 1/4 cup hard cheese like: parmesan, pecorino Romano (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Prepare squash and sweet potatoes.  If using the sweet potatoes, drizzle the olive oil over the tops of them.  Place in baking dish.  Add heavy cream, salt, pepper and thyme to the center of the acorn squash.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove and grate cheese over the top.  Bake an additional 20 minutes of until squash is soft.  Bake uncovered.

Buen provecho amigos!

Chicken Stew

Tired of boring beef stew? Me too! This chicken stew was great even without the prerequisite dumplings…

  • Chicken Stew
    Ingredients
    5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
    4 lb (1.8 kg) skinned chicken thighs
    7 small carrots, peeled (WHY?) and cut in half diagonally
    4 potatoes, peeled and cubed I used yams peeled and cubed
    2 cups (500 mL) peeled pearl onions or 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 red pepper diced
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    3 chopped celery stalks
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms or 1 small can
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peas, frozen or 1 small can
  • 1 platano chopped coarsely
    1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream I omitted this and used the chopped platano to thicken it. Can you tell I am into platanos?

Preparation
In a large Dutch oven, bring chicken stock to boil. Add chicken; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate; let cool. Remove meat from bones; cut into bite-size chunks.Better still start with boneless thighs and save some time.

Add carrots, pepper, celery and potatoes to stock; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add (pearl) onions; simmer, covered, just until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to plate. If necessary, add more chicken stock to make 5 cups (1.25 L). OR just add more water…

In same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook celery, onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Truthfully I just threw them into the pot with the stock and veggies. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add carrot mixture, peas and cream* (if using), or the chopped platano stirring to combine.

If you are ambitious make up a batch of dumplings. They really are not necessary…This makes great leftovers!

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Tart

While attending the 2012 Wine and Herb Food Pairing Festival in Niagara on the Lake in May, with our friends Tom and Kathy, we had the opportunity of sampling this great appetizer! The recipe was prepared by The Pie Plate Bakery and Cafe in nearby Virgil http://www.thepieplate.com/  and served at Reif Winery   http://www.reifwinery.com/

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Tart (or Quiche)

1. THE POTATOES:

Roll pastry and line 9 inch French tart shell or 24 mini tarts. Pre-bake at 450 degrees using weights to prevent the pastry from bubbling up.

Peel and dice 3 – 4 large sweet potatoes. Place on a sheet pan and sprinkle generously with olive oil, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence, season with salt and pepper. Toss again.

Roast in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so potatoes cook evenly.

The potatoes should be soft when pierced with a fork and the edges should be caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

2. GOAT CHEESE FILLING:

130 gram package of goat cheese

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

Combine these ingredients until smooth.

3. EGG FILLING:

5 large eggs

1/2 cup 10% cream

Beat together.

4. THE ASSEMBLY:

Crumble prepared goat cheese mixture evenly on bottom of tart shells.

Fill tart with prepared sweet potatoes chunks.

Pour egg mixture into tart slowly till it comes close to the top edge of the pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until tart souffles in the center (about 10 minutes for tarts).