I found one in Aldi last Sunday, and all week I’ve been looking at it in the fridge and thinking ‘I’ll deal with it later’. I’ve never had it before, but I’ve had some horrible experiences with marrow, and some disappointing experiments with pumpkin, so I was not looking forward to attempting to get something edible out of this weird-shaped beige object.
But this evening I decided the time had come. I looked up some recipes and was horrified to find out that you can cook it as a sweet or savoury dish – can it not make its mind up?? Is it a vegetable or a dessert? I decided to go for a savoury recipe, on the basis that frying almost anything over with salt, ground pepper and garlic can’t go that badly wrong.
First, says the recipe, peel and chop the squash. Now I understand why Paleo type diets cause weight loss and improved muscle definition – you build up the muscles from sawing your way through rock solid vegetables, and you lose weight because by the time you’ve peeled and chopped said vegetables, a) your appetite has disappeared and b) you don’t have time to eat much at all. Once I managed to saw my way into the squash, I found it had seeds a bit like a melon, which I should have known but for a second was a very nasty shock. Then, I found that the flesh of the vegetable is bright, TOWIE orange – no offence intended to the good people of that series, but that really, truly is the colour.
I meant to fry it over in goose fat, which I found at our local Spar (no, really, local Spar. It’s in Usk, and contains a bizarre but fascinating and useful mix of bog-standard single brand cornershop goods, and artisan foods that I’ve only heard of from Nigella’s books). Sadly, I completely forgot, and ended up frying it over in olive oil. I also completely forgot the garlic. It’s been a long half term holiday.
So after about half an hour of waiting for it to go brown as per the recipe (it didn’t),we ended up with ordinary sauteed butternut squash. And the verdict is:
It was quite nice. I liked it enough to eat all of mine, and The Husband liked his too (he said in a surprised voice). It has a solid texture, and a sweetish flavour a bit like sweet potato, but not quite as dense. I’m not sure how often we’ll cook it, but I think after sauteeing, it would make a nice addition to stew or casserole, especially as a more Paleo substitute for potatoes.
So we’re adding butternut squash to fennel on our list of ‘Who knew?’ vegetables. My next big adventure on the Paleo journey may end up being home made chicken liver pate. Then again, with our current track record at the shopping, it may have to wait until all the children have left home…