The holidays never really feel like the holidays when you live in hot climates. Growing up in South Texas, and having lived on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in a beach town for many years, temperatures of 80+ degrees for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s felt odd and somehow diminished whatever holiday spirit you could muster.
But this year, things are different because we have already had three snowfalls and my holiday spirit is kicking into gear for the first time ever.
As the snow continued to fall, my mind raced with new holiday recipes, people I want to share them with and new good + good for you ways we can celebrate the season this year.
Inspired by the Season
Winter squash is in heavy rotation at the Santa Fe Farmers Market and I am overwhelmed at the assorted varieties, some of which I have never seen or tasted. From the traditional butternut to the obscure hubbard and red kuri, squash season is in full effect which is tempting me to pay more attention to these ingredients and use them.
David loves acorn squash and it’s something I have not attempted–either to try or to cook. With five decades under my belt, I figured now was a great time to start a new squash romance.
Acorn Squash Wins
Shaped like a huge acorn with green and orange colors, acorn squash is not sweet and doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but can be a great canvas for adding spices and even stuffing these squash for a delightful vegetarian meal. This simple squash can also be easily taunted with real maple syrup to become a sweeter version of itself. And that’s how acorn squash and I came together.
The caramelization of the maple syrup elevates the roasted acorn squash to levels that are worthy of adding this recipe to your Thanksgiving holiday menu. The hardest part is cutting the squash which requires a very, very sharp and large knife to cut through the shell. But once it is roasted, the skin softens and is completely edible.
The bright colors of the roasted green skin and the orange flesh combine with the golden maple syrup to become a picture-perfect platter of roasted winter squash that will attract those who love acorn squash and beckon those who may be, like me, first-timers.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple Glaze
When winter squash is plentiful, I mostly make soups with the varieties, but this roasted acorn squash with maple syrup glaze had me at first bite. It's so simple and easy, the oven does the hard work--after you cut the acorn squash which can be a challenge. Basting with maple syrup sets this dish over the top and will be one you return to whenever you bring home acorn squash.
- 1 3-4 lb. acorn squash sliced into 8-12 wedges
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Carefully cut acorn squash in half and deseed it.
Cu the squash into 8-12 wedges, depending on the size of the squash. This is the hardest part of this recipe and requires a very sharp knife and a steady hand to cut through this hard squash.
In a bowl, toss squash wedges with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Lay the wedges on the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are tender and begin to brown in places.
Remove the pan from the oven and brush each wedge with maple syrup, turning them as you go to coat the other side as well. Place back in the oven for 5-15 minutes more, depending on the thickness.
When the maple syrup is glistening and bubbly and the squash looks cooked, remove the squash from the oven and serve.