Thursday, October 7, 2010

Acorn Squash with Sage Cream and Syrup

Finally posting something healthy!!!

After this, and this, and this, and this, and this, I thought it was fine time to prove we do eat more than just tarts, torts, cakes, and treats around here.

So yes, like I say, something healthy today! Some roughage! Some fiber! Something vegetably! Something...


I got too glib before realizing that this ahem, "healthy" dish contains heavy cream and maple syrup. Eh, what's a little dairy and sugar, right??

Together. Drizzled heavily and deliberately all over a helpless little lacking squash.

Okay okay. Well. I suppose and purport that perhaps more healthier versions of recipes will grace this blog in the near future but in the meantime I must confess that I'm flirting with ideas of changing this blog to reflect the title, "Kate's Bakes" instead of Kate's Plate-- and especially since Xmas is making its way around the corner, that might be meet and appropriate.

At any rate though, horray for squash and sage season!! I love it, I do.

Last year at this time I was 8 weeks along, gagging and barfing over anything that remotely smelled or appeared like squash, risotto, mushrooms, or pumpkin and 365 days later with a new appetite and a new baby, it's been erased from my system and I rejoice that it was not an indelible, permanent aversion!!

And don't be intimidated by the method of reduction-- though easy to buckle and shy away from this instruction, it's actually quite simple and requires only your stove, a little stirring, and some vigilance of watching over the liquid. My only advice is to NOT LEAVE the kitchen when allowing cream to simmer on the stove top- it's easily scalded and then you have a debacle. Have a wooden spoon near by to keep things nicely stirred, and keep the heat down to medium, resisting the urge to turn it up. Reductions take time, so don't hasten it by cranking up the heat to high. The cream ultimately will be thickened and lessened.

Finally, the syrup drizzle in the final step is a must. Kirkland has a nice brand of GRADE A and Trader Joes has a good version of GRADE B, if I recall correctly and both brands are eh, relatively affordable if you decide to invest in pure maple syrup. Mrs. Butterworths will not cut it here, I am sorry and reluctant to add.

This is completely delicious and elegant! Turn around and use the leftover sage in a rice dish, i.e. risotto, or for a squash soup, or for a browned butter sauce to pour over pasta.

Acorn Squash with Sage Cream Reduction and Maple Syrup
{Williams Sonoma Holiday Entertaining}

2 acorn squash, cut vertically down the middle, and then cut into 1" half moons
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
8 fresh sage leaves
2 tsp sage leaves, minced
Pure maple syrup, for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350. On a cookie sheet, place sliced acorn squash all over and brush each with some olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and a little pepper. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender, or until when the fork test is successful (i.e. a fork poked into the flesh of acorn goes all the way through with little effort:)).

Meanwhile, pour cream in a small saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a soft boil and steep (aka, throw in) the 8 sage leaves. Stir occasionally, allowing this to simmer for about 30 minutes (keep your eye on it so it doesn't scald or burn).

Once it's thickened a bit, remove the 8 sage leaves and discard. Add in the 2 tsp of sage leaves, bring to a boil again, and reduce until it's about 2/3 of what it was (i.e. you should have about 1/2 cup to a 1/3 cup of cream remaining). This shouldn't take more than 5-10 minutes....cream should be smooth, but thickened. Remove from heat and pour all over the tender acorn squash slices.

For finishing touch, drizzle pure maple syrup all over and serve immediately.

Makes no leftovers.

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