Here comes the comfort food, and unfortunately, that means a lot of mashed potatoes are about to be all up in our face. We like taters and all, but honestly, if you open a restaurant and all you can come up with for your dinner menu is garlic blue cheese mashed potatoes, you shouldn’t even be given a business loan.
We tried mashing squash last week as a sort of preemptive strike against mashed potatoes, and it worked pretty well. Gourds are right up there with goblins and witches, in terms of things that feel Octobery, so that’s a bonus. Here we roasted three kinds of pretty gourds and whipped their flesh into a hot, sweet and savory mash that could easily replace spuds beneath an entrée or swim alone in mushroom gravy. The recipe’s still a work in progress: you can use any combo of different squashes, also feel free to de-veganify by replacing the margarine with unsalted butter, and the soymilk with heavy cream or crème fraiche.
1 butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 spaghetti squash
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1 white onion, peeled and chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh black pepper
1/8 cup celery leaves, chopped
2 cups yellow chard, roughly chopped
1. To roast squash, preheat your oven to about 400 degrees. Cut all of them in half, lengthwise and scoop out innards. Place squash on one or multiple trays, rub each piece with olive oil and dab extra on the tray. Roast until completely cooked and a fork yields no resistance (about 40-50 minutes).
2. A few minutes before your squash is ready you can start the other veggies for the mash. Bring a large soup pot with the vegan margarine up to high heat. Once bubbly, add the onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes, and then add wine. Reduce for a few minutes and add all your spices and the stock.
3. Bring up to a boil before adding chard and celery. Bring to a simmer until squash is ready to join.
4. Pull out the squash pan and start separating the flesh from the gourd skins (you can keep some of them, but beware of crunchy shards in the mash). Using a large spoon or knife, simply run along skin and scoop out all usable squash meet. Place in a large mixing bowl and mash together.
5. Then add to the pot, stirring thoroughly and adding soymilk (or cream) as you go. The consistency should be gloppy like slightly wet mash potatoes, add more stock or soymilk as necessary. Serve as you would mash potatoes or sculpt with an ice cream scoop.
Soundtrack: Jacob Smigel’s “Mandarin Oranges”
Beverage: Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine