Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
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Thursday, 16 October 2008

The squash report (part 1)

When I posted a photo of our 2008 squash harvest from the Three Sisters bed, someone asked if I could post photos of the insides of the squash. An excellent idea! Here are the two squash we have already cooked and eaten . . .

First is the long yellow squash, grown from saved seed from last year's 'Winter Festival' squash – a delightful prettily striped and spotted yellow green and white acorn shaped squash. At first I thought I had muddled up the plantlets and planted one of the 'Gold Rush' courgettes in the Three Sisters bed by mistake. But as the fruit developed I realised last year's 'Winter Festival' had cross pollinated with the closely related courgette and had produced a hybrid. We used one of the 'squourgettes' chopped up in the Picallili (a triumph!) and left the other to fully mature into a large dark yellow marrow shaped squash. I was concerned that it may be more courgette-like than squash-like and so it was the first to be taken to the kitchen . . .

. . . and here it is cut in half, oozing juices and a beautiful pale orange in colour!


I used half to make soup. I softened some chopped onion and a few chopped sage leaves in some olive oil and then added the roughly cubed squash flesh and some ground mixed peppercorns.

I then added some home-made chicken stock and simmered until the squash was tender. A quick whizz with the stick blender and we had a delicious light squash soup. There was a hint of cooked courgette flavour alongside the light nuttiness of the squash, the colour was a glorious sunshine gold – an excellent Saturday lunchtime soup. The remaining 'squourgette' was boiled until tender and served as a tasty side vegetable with the Sunday roast.

Now for the 'Marina di Chioggia', grown from seed saved from last year so maybe not quite true to the original. This isn't the most attractive of squash, being green and warty but the smooth texture and intense flavour of the flesh was my favourite of last year's harvest . . .

. . . here it is cut in half

Lack of sun this summer probably accounts for the flesh having a tinge of green rather than being deep golden orange, but nevertheleass a fine squash!

I made soup with half of the 'Marina di Chioggia', as above but using pheasant stock and thickening it by adding two broken up rice cakes (thank you Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – top tip!) just before blending. The colour wouldn't win any prizes – a sludgy ochre – but shut your eyes and the flavour and texture was wonderful. With the remaining squash we mashed some with potato to top a Shepherd's Pie and roast the rest to accompany pork chops. The texture of the flesh is quite dry and would suit recipes needing a firmer flesh – risotto or gnochi maybe

We have another larger 'Marina di Chioggia' squash and the nameless giant orange one (earmarked for Hallowe'en) left. Recipe suggestions welcome!

5 comments:

  1. This post has made me hungry!

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  2. When I made a roasted vegetable "tart" the other day, I aded chunks of pumpkin (Kent is wonderful;do you grow that in UK?)to other more summery things and it was a hit.

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  3. Wow...unfortunately, squash is not a favorite in our house, but your photos and description left me wishing to cook some up and give it another try!

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  4. Could you clarify something for me ?
    I have several overgrown courgettes or zucchini in my garden. Is that what you call a squash?

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  5. They were both delicious Gina!

    Moreidlethoughts - now that does sound good!

    Temptressyarn - welcome to PPPs! I'm sure you do like squash! there are so many ways to cook it and flavours to combine it with!

    Scintilla - welcome! Squash and courgettes are both varieties of 'Cucurbita pepo' which includes what you call a Zucchini and also other summer squash (ones that don't store for winter) and some winter squash - usually the ones with a more watery milder flesh. There are many other 'Squash', most being varieties of 'Cucurbita maxima' which has a dense nutty flesh and stores well or 'Curcubita moschata' which include 'Butternut'. So your overgrown Zucchini isn't the same as what is generally termed a Squash but it's a very close cousin!

    Celia

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