Simple Enough: A Recipe for Savory Whipped Squash
By Jenny Tremblay West
The nights slip in too quickly, and the chill in my old home has me in the kitchen with any excuse to turn on that stove. In the winter time we want hearty good food that doesn't require too much fuss but returns big flavor and warmth. My go-to is often squash, which to me is simple, but to a lot of my students is a task larger than they bargained for. I teach folks how to cook, and if they learn nothing more than how to properly peel and chop something, I feel like they are in a better place than when they come to me. Prepping veggies and ingredients is the step that causes struggle, and having the proper tools helps enormously. A very sharp knife can do wonders for the home cook and is a must for cutting hard vegetables such as squash. A peeler that has a good blade—or even better, a serrated blade—will knock out the peeling part. If you hate peeling, you can always roast the squash.
This recipe for Savory Whipped Squash comes together very quickly after the squash is prepared. The last tool that this recipe uses is an immersion blender. If you don’t have one, you can substitute a food processor or blender, or you can simply mash the squash by hand for a more textured dish. The immersion blender requires the least amount of washing, so it’s my personal favorite. The notes of herbs and cream yield silky and complex results. This whipped squash is the perfect comfort food for a chilly night’s dinner.
Notes on cooking squash:
If you choose butternut or another smooth skinned vegetable, peeling is easy. If your squash is bumpy or has nooks, like an acorn squash, you may want to consider roasting and not peeling first. There are two easy ways to cook squash. Steaming or roasting. For this recipe we steamed in the instant pot.
Cut the bottom and top off with a very sharp knife. Use a good vegetable peeler to remove all of the exterior skin. Carefully cut the vegetables in half and scoop out any seeds in the cavity. Set the seeds aside if you choose to roast them. Cut the squash into large 2-inch pieces. Shape is not important, but you don’t want huge pieces.
Steam: Use your stovetop steamer, microwave steamer, or instant pot. Times will vary. You can check stovetop or microwave after 8 minutes or so by inserting a sharp knife. If it is easy to insert with no force, then the squash is done. Cooking it in the instant pot requires a steaming rack or basket. Set it for 4 minutes on high pressure, 5 minute natural release.
Roasting: You can leave the skin on (remove the seeds) for roasting, or peel and cut as in the steaming method. On a roasting pan, drizzle a little vegetable oil and place the squash cut side down. Roast in a 400 °F oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size. Check for doneness by inserting a knife. If it goes in with no force and if it is easy to remove, then your squash is done. Remove it from the oven and scoop out the interior flesh for use.
Savory Whipped Squash
4 cups roasted or steamed winter Squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin or other winter variety) See cooking note
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
¼ cup heavy cream, half and half or whole mil
Chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish, optional
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize, about 8-12 minutes. Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add squash and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in parsley and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Add heavy cream. Pulse with an immersion blender until light and fluffy. Garnish with parsley or other chopped herbs if desired.
Squash pancakes: for every 2 cups of leftovers add one egg and about ¼ cup of all purpose flour. Mix well and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a pat of butter to the hot pan. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter at a time and press down lightly, frying for about 3-4 minutes or until crispy and browned slighly on that side. Flip and proceed with frying about 3 minutes more. Repeat until all done. Serve with sour cream.
Flatbreads: Toast a flatbread in a 425 °F oven for about 8 minutes. Spread leftover squash mixture on top and pop back into the oven for another 8 minutes or until warmed through. Top with a lightly dressed salad of arugula and spinach. To make the dressing, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and chili flakes.
Jenny Tremblay grew up in the hospitality industry, learning from an early age the ins and outs of her family's mountain resort in Banff, Canada. This uncommon upbringing fueled a lifelong love of connecting with people, travel, and food. She attended culinary school at Dubrulle International Culinary Arts in Vancouver and jumped into a career that has taken many forms. She has found a calling in teaching others, utilizing her skills and knowledge she has learned over a lifetime. Trained as a pastry chef, baking is one of her favorite things to share with clients and friends. Her love of gardening and fresh produce plays a heavy hand in her cooking style.
Her business Kitchen Coach teaches in depth cooking lessons either privately or in small groups. She can also be found teaching public classes at Mise en Place and writing recipes for local publications. Jenny lives in Church hill, just east of downtown Richmond, Virginia with her husband and two boys.