I hate acorn squash. I always have. My mom, on the other hand, L-O-V-E-D it. We are talking hearts and doves floating above her head when she was eating it. She could not understand why I didn’t like it. She made it every which way and I still couldn’t stand it. I don’t know if it was the flavor or the texture, but I would have the stare down with it at the dinner table and wasn’t allowed to be excused until I had shoved it down my gullet. Gag.
But, from the beginning, dear reader, I have promised you to make my mom’s favorite recipes no matter what my preferences were….so here we are….facing down my nemesis….the acorn squash.
When it was baking in the oven, I could smell that squash smell wafting out and thought to myself, after all these years, nothing has changed. But when I mixed up the butter and syrup and poured it over the sherry-cooked onions and walnuts, I thought, nothing cooked in butter and sugar could taste that bad. And I was right. For more than 25 years, I have hated acorn squash with a passion, but this recipe…this golden sweet recipe…gave squash a second chance. I didn’t just like it, I flippin’ loved it! I can finally be excused from the table.
When I think of acorn squash, I don’t think of the shape, I think of that splash of yellow across the green, like it got in the line of fire in a paintball war. I turned on my oven to 400 degrees, pulled out a glass casserole dish, and put about 2/3 cup of water in the bottom. I cut the squash in half and spooned out all the seeds and stringy business. Then I put the squash in the dish, open side up, covered it all completely in foil and popped it in the oven until it was tender…about 35 minutes.
While the squash was cooking, I cooked up some pearl onions. Now, the recipe calls for cooked onions or canned. I thought this would be a great opportunity to add some flavor. I took the raw onions, cut off the root and flash boiled them in boiling water for 1 minute. I drained them after 1 minute and ran cold water over them. I squeezed the top and the naked onion came shooting out. It was pretty fun. (I see pearl onion fights across the kitchen island in your future.)
Brown them in a pan with olive oil for about 5 minutes. Now, here comes the flavor: add salt and pepper and about 2/3 cup sherry. Let it bubble and simmer away for about 20 minutes, making sure to stir it up every few minutes. Once cooked, mix in walnuts and set aside.
Take the squash out of oven, but don’t turn oven off! Melt butter and mix in dark corn syrup and cinnamon. Sprinkle some salt over squash and spoon onions and walnuts into center of squash. Pour sweet butter mixture all over top of squash, being careful not to let any drip over the side. You want every bit of that butter syrup covering every bit of exposed squash flesh.
Put back in oven, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Eat. Eat it all and feel good about yourself. You ate squash. That’s the equivalent of running a marathon or conquering your greatest fear. You’re a winner. Now you may be excused.
Glazed Squash with Onions
- 3 medium acorn squash
- 2/3 c. water
- 2 c. drained cooked or canned small onions
- 1/2 c. broken walnuts
- 1/2 c. butter, melted
- 1/2 c. dark corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and salt
- Pearl Onions:
- Put a pot of water on to boil. Cut off root end of onions.
- Boil in water for 1 minute. Drain. Shock in cold water.
- Squeeze out onions from casings.
- Brown in pan with olive oil for 5 minutes.
- Pour in 2/3 c. water or sherry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir occasionally for 20 minutes.
- Glazed Squash:
- Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds. Place in glass baking dish, face up.
- Pour 2/3 cup water into bottom of dish. Cover securely with foil and place in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until squash is tender.
- Once tender, sprinkle squash with salt.
- Fill with onions and walnuts.
- Mix melted butter, corn syrup, and cinnamon and pour onto squash.
- Return to oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.