Delicata and Dumplings: Winter Squashes
Don’t you just love those names? Delicata sounds like a classical music direction (as in soto voce) and dumplings sound like, well, soft, round, pillowy things.
What they are really, are winter squash varieties that you are more likely to find at a farmers’ market than at your local grocery store. For information on all things you ever wanted to know about squash, click here.
Delicata in particular is one of the most delicious tasting of the winter squashes, with creamy pulp and a thinner skin than some of the others. It’s wonderful roasted along with other root vegetables like parsnips and rutabagas and potatoes and onions. Just cut in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into large pieces the same size as the other vegetables. You probably won’t want to eat the skin, but it does help to hold the squash together while it’s roasting so I leave it on. They are usually 5 – 10 inches in length and can be roasted or steamed.
Delicata is also called Peanut squash or Bohemian squash; it is actually an heirloom variety that was originally introduced in New York City in 1894 by the Peter Henderson Company and was popular through the 1920’s. Because of its thinner skin, it didn’t transport well so it pretty much disappeared until recently. Thankfully, they are back!
Now, dumplings are just the cutest little things ever. This is another mild tasting squash that somewhat resembles a miniature pumpkin in shape, but its skin is creamy-colored with green bands down the ridges and green speckles. Its flesh is orange and sweet and tender; it’s perfect for stuffing or makes a great presentation roasted whole with some butter and sage leaves. Just cut the top off, scoop out the seeds and roast cut side down in a pan with some chicken broth added for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees. They are just the right size for individual servings and can be dressed up or down for the occasion.
Here’s a recipe for dumplings from Martha Stewart Living, November, 2010, that definitely dresses them up. I can’t wait to serve them for Thanksgiving.
Dumpling Squash with Cream and Sage Serves 12
- 6 dumpling squash – halved, seeded and bottoms trimmed to sit flat
- salt & pepper
- 1 tsp fresh chopped sage
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 4 garlic cloves, halved
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange cut squash halves in baking dishes, cut side up; sprinkle with salt, pepper and chopped sage. Pour 1/2 cup stock in each dish and scatter garlic cloves around squashes. Bake, covered, about 45 minutes until done. Heat broiler with rack about 8 inches from heat source.
Transfer cooked garlic to a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in cream and 2 Tbsp. of cooking liquid from baking dish. Spoon cream over squash, including the edges. Broil 3-4 minutes until bubbly.
Written by Susan Cypert, Phoenix Farmers Market Examiner at Examiner.com