Winter squashes are so good, it's hard to wait through the summer for their bounty. Butternut squash, in my opinion, belongs at the very top of the winter squash list for the most delicious to the pound. And, as much as I love it with little more than some butter and salt and pepper, the holidays seem to require a more adventurous approach. Adding apples, raisins, pecans, onions, and peppers will pop it up a notch and then the herbs and spices bring it all together.
Solar-Baked Holiday Butternut Squash
2 med butternut squashes, whole or split in half lengthwise, seeded, and baked until soft
1 large onion, chopped
1 large apple, chopped
1 large banana pepper, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 Tbsps fresh basil, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh stevia, chopped fine
1 tsp Chinese spices
1 tsp corn starch
3/4 tsps salt
Juice of two oranges
2 Tbsps unsalted butter
Preheat solar oven to 225F Lightly greased casserole dish
Bake squashes whole in solar oven, or, split in half, lengthwise and bake cut side down in lightly greased casserole dish, until soft but not mushy -- approximately 2 hours. For my whole squashes, I've used two SolarWear(tm) quart-sized carriers for easy placement and removal.
1. While squashes are baking, prepare the filling by chopping onions, banana pepper, and apples.
2. Over medium high heat, melt butter in large heavy skillet; add onions and banana pepper and saute until both are translucent.
3. In small bowl, combine all herbs, spices, and corn starch, and mix thoroughly.
4. Add orange juice to skillet; When juices start bubbling, add herb and spice mix and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Add chopped apples, raisins, and pecans; mix thoroughly, and set aside to cool.
5. When squash is ready, remove flesh from shell with small butter scoop or use paring knife to cut into small cubes. Don't worry if squash bits aren't perfect -- they'll all blend together!
6. Add squash to skillet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Scoop squash mixture back into squash shells and place in lightly-greased casserole dish. Cover and bake for approximately 55 minutes.
7. The butternut squash shell is edible, too, so the squash can be cut as shown above or left in the shell for serving -- it's luscious, either way!