I am not a summer squash fan. I don’t like to malign any vegetable, but they just don’t work for me. Truthfully when I sneak zucchini into a dish, I benefit just as much as my kids do. But WINTER squash? Whole different ball of wax, well, so to speak as I obviously don’t enjoy eating balls of wax, at least not since those wax lips in the 70s…. moving right along. Winter squash is glorious. It’s sweet and flavorful, mild enough to influence, and versatile enough to produce approximately 8 million pumpkin recipes on the blogosphere. This is not a pumpkin post. Look at all these amazing winter squashes. Such variety!
Today I want to introduce you to the Sweet Dumpling Squash. Isn’t it adorable? I’m not going to lie, I bought it because it’s cute. I’ve noticed lately that my picky one’s defenses tend to be lower when the item that I’m currently pushing is smaller, and cuter, than average. It makes sense if you think about it. She’s small – what does she need a big honkin’ squash for? I suspected she would enjoy squash more than most veggies because of the sweetness, so the mission was to get her to give it a go.
I decided to “stuff” the squash. You can do this with just about any squash, but the smaller rounder winter squashes (carnival, acorn, etc.) lend themselves particularly well to being stuffed. I cut mine cross wise with a big ol’ knife and pulled the stem off so it would “sit” once cut. I then used a metal scoop we just happen to have to get the seeds out (set them aside to roast, and then be sure to tell those that help you clean up that you’re setting them aside to roast…. ). At any rate, I scooped out the seeds and the stringy bits, brushed the whole thing with olive oil and then turned to making a “stuffing.”
While my picky eater is wild about bread, I hoped to entice her without using it as I was also baking some bread to go with dinner. I decided to turn to the pantry for help in creating a “stuffing” that would enhance the sweetness of the squash and would give us a fair shot at a taste test by my little varmint. The amounts listed below are for these cute little squash, if you choose a larger variety, you will need to make more. And so, I give you…
Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash (Clever, right?)
- 2 sweet dumpling squash (or other small round winter squash)
- large handful dried apricots
- handful of pepitas (or nut of your choosing)
- much smaller handful of dried cranberries
- 1.5 t olive oil
- sprinkle salt and dried sage
- Drizzle honey (optional)
- little slip of butter (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Oil a baking pan. Cut and prepare squash as described above. Chop dried fruit. Mix fruit, nuts, olive oil and spices in bowl. Spoon into squash halves. Bake (stuffed side up please) for approximately 30-35 minutes. Test your squash for doneness – it should be VERY easy to stick a fork in and pull some flesh away from the skin of the squash. Cooking times will vary according to the size of your squash. I did not add butter or honey to my own squash. Two of our tribe enjoyed their with a little melted butter. The honey drizzle I’m saving for next time. Delish! And yes, she tried it. She even ate a little more than was required. AND she said it was awfully cute.