squash, sweet & savoury

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetIt’s that time of year when our household comes into more apples and squashes than we can immediately enjoy (see above photo, week after week…), so we get to work incorporating them into preparations we will enjoy through the fall and winter.

Both of these recipes (one sweet, one savoury) use up a good amount of apples and firm, meaty squash (think: pie pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash). They also are perfect to freeze for later enjoyment.

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetSweet: Apple-Cranberry-Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins

Makes 12 large muffins

These little muffins are deep, dense and kept moist with pockets of apple and cranberry. The pumpkin seeds and raw sugar add great textural contrast. They’re hearty and chockfull of wholesome ingredients for a weekday breakfast — this isn’t cake (not that cake for breakfast is ever wrong…!).

The muffins keep well covered at room temperature or in the fridge. Or, wrap them tightly in clingfilm to freeze for later enjoyment.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 c whole wheat flour
  • 0.5 c allpurpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, brought to room temp
  • 1/4 c raw sugar
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 c canned or fresh cooked squash flesh (think: pie pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash)
  • 1 large apple, peeled and cored, cubed (to the same size as cranberries)
  • 1 c cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit. Prepare your muffin tins, either with liners or butter and flour.

In a large bowl, prep dry ingredients: whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

In a smaller blow, prep wet ingredients: Cream together butter and raw sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and maple syrup. Fold in pumpkin.

Add wet ingredients to dry (don’t over-mix!). Fold in the apple chunks and cranberries.

Fill prepared muffin tins two-thirds, and liberally sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and raw sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450° Fahrenheit*, turn down the heat to 400° Fahrenheit and bake for a further 7 minutes or so, until golden and a toothpick inserted in several places comes clean.

Cool the muffins in tin for about five minutes, then transfer to a rack.

*I use this method of high temperature coupled with a quick cook time to ensure a fluffy, tall muffin, even with 75% whole wheat flour at its base. Cooked at lower temperatures, whole wheat-flour dominant muffin and loaf recipes tend to fall flat as they cool and look a bit sad.

img_1307Savoury: Roasted Apple, Sweet Onion & Acorn Squash Soup with Apple Relish

Makes six 1.5 cup portions

This soup is a bit more special than your everyday squash soup thanks to the addition of apples and high-heat roasting of all the vegetables before they take a swim in the broth base. The relish is totally optional, but a spoonful adds a bit of crunch and zing to liven up the rich soup.

The soup portions and freezes beautifully for up to six months.

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 2 large apples, cored and cubed (skin is okay)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • about 20 sage leaves
  • ~4 Tbsp olive oil (for roasting)
  • 1 litre stock (we use homemade chicken stock, but any ol’ stock works)
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • Allspice, nutmeg, pepper and salt, to taste

For the relish

  • 1 medium apple, cored and finely diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4c cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 sage leaves, chiffonaded
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 4o0° Fahrenheit.

On a lined sheet pan, coat the squash halves with oil, prick with a fork and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg.

On a separate lined sheet pan or baking dish, toss the apples, onion and sage with oil and salt, and arrange tightly.

Bake both pans at once until vegetables are golden and meltingly tender, about 40 minutes (watch closely, as ovens vary!)

Meanwhile, gently heat stock in a large saucepan (suitable size for the entire soup recipe).

To the soup stock, add all the roasted vegetables, including the sage and residual juices (peel the acorn squash from its skin first — apple skins are okay).

Let mixture come to a simmer — the vegetables will break down after about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make relish by combining all ingredients in an acid-safe bowl, testing for salt. Set aside.

Remove soup from heat and let cool slightly before blitzing with an immersion blender to your desired texture — I like a smooth soup, but this is delicious chunky as well.

Taste (and taste again!) for salt levels. It probably will need a good pinch!

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with spoonfuls of relish.

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