Friday, September 10, 2010

Vanilla and Cardamom Glazed Acorn Squash Rings

In the spirit of fall, I've dived into another squash recipe. While the Southwestern Butternut Squash Saute was delectable savory squash side, these glazed acorn squash rings, with their sweet, caramelized flavor are so simply sweet and delicious they almost feel like dessert. I'm a sucker for anything with maple syrup, so this recipe was made for me. The glaze in this recipe would be equally delicious blended into roasted acorn squash puree as an alternative to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes. This side is equally at home alongside a grilled panini or roast turkey at Thanksgiving dinner.

Vanilla and Cardamom Glazed Acorn Squash Rings
from Fast, Fresh, and Green by Susie Middleton
serves 2 to 3

1 small acorn squash (1 to 1.25 lbs)
2 T. unsalted butter, plus 2 t. more if needed
2 t. pure maple syrup
1.5 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. ground cardamom
Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Line a large (18x13x1-inch) heavy-duty rimmed sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.

2. With a sharp chef's knife, cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise (though both the stem end and the pointy end). Scrape out the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Put each half, cut side down, on a cutting board. Slice off about 3/4-inch from each end, and discard. Slice the squash crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick half-rings. If you want, you can trim away any remaining fibers from the rings by running a paring knife around the inside of each. Pout the half-rings on the parchment paper.

3. In a small sauce pan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the maple syrup, vanilla, and cardamom. Stir well. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the squash pieces with a little less than half of the mixture. Season the pieces very lightly with salt and turn them over. Brush this side with more of the mixture, but reserve about 1 tablespoon for brushing on after cooking. (If using a larger squash and you wind up with less than 1 tablespoon of liquid, add 1 to 2 teaspoons more butter to the saucepan). Season the tops very lightly with salt.

4. Roast the squash for 12 minutes. Use tongs to flip the pieces over. Continue to roast until they are nicely browned (the bottoms with be browner than the tops) and tender when pierced with a paring knife, 10 to 12 minutes. Flip the piecces over again when they come out of the oven so that the browner side is up.

5. Reheat the butter mixture briefly over low heat if necessary (or to melt the additional butter). Brush the butter mixture over the squash slices and serve.

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