Squash come in all shapes and sizes. They can be round or elongated, small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or large enough to feed a crowd. The skin of winter squash ranges from pale yellow to brilliant orange, with textures that can be rough to creamy smooth. And the pumpkin is not just limited to savory dishes – it picks up the sweetness of sugar, too, when cooked into jams, pies and puddings. What they all have in common is that they are amazingly versatile ingredients, as Brian Glover demonstrates in this exciting recipe collection.
This beautiful orange and green soup, with its sweet-sour flavor and hint of chile heat, makes an exotic start to a special meal. Despite the richness of the coconut milk, the sharpness of the lime keeps it tasting light. You can use any orange-fleshed winter squash or cooking pumpkin for this recipe.
Squash, corn, and chile form the holy trinity of southern States cooking. Here they are added to a beef stew that’s packed with spicy flavor and given added richness by the last-minute addition of dark chocolate. You could serve this in a hollowed-out pumpkin shell for real impact.
Serving fondue in a baked pumpkin shell is not just about fun presentation – the sweet, tender flesh is wonderful with the salty, sharp richness of the cheese. Either use a whole, large pumpkin for everyone to dip into or small individual squashes. Serve with cubes of crusty bread for dipping and spoons for scraping the baked squash from the shell. The cheese you use is up to you. I like a mixture of a Gruyere-like cheese (Emmental, Beaufort, or Irish Coolea) with a softer cheese such as Taleggio or Fontina.
Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash Brian Glover. Ryland Peters & Small, $15.95, 2010. Photo credit: Peter Cassidy