These Braised Winter Squash Wedges Are All We Want to Eat Right Now
A recipe for winter squash, excerpted from the cookbook Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, by Deb Perelman
This is my favorite way to cook winter squash. It takes a cue from fondant, or melting, potatoes, a technique in which thick slices of potato are roasted on both sides before they finish cooking braised in a puddle of broth. From the oven, they’re crisp and somewhat glazed outside, creamy inside, and booming with more flavor than it seems possible to lock inside a potato. Clearly, I’m a fan—but I had no idea that when I applied this technique to big wedges of winter squash I’d never want to cook it another way again.
I add to the pan everything I like with winter squash—thyme, garlic, and cider vinegar, which gets sweet/tangy when cooked and really helps cut through the sweetness of squash—and then I put the whole thing on a plate of tart yogurt and peppery baby arugula. Any slightly syrupy broth left in the pan is poured over everything, and it’s all so good together, you might wonder why you’d ever consider squash a side dish again. This is centerpiece squash, and it wants you to know it.
Braised Winter Squash Wedges
- 2¼ to 2½ pounds (1 to 1.15 kilograms) winter squash (about ½ kabocha or red kuri squash)
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) olive oil, divided
- Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 cup (235 grams) vegetable broth
- ¼ cup (60 grams) apple-cider vinegar
- 1 cup (230 grams) plain Greek-style yogurt
- 2 cups (55 grams) baby arugula leaves
Note: you can often buy squash in halves or quarters from a farmers’ market, which is great, because it runs large—kabocha is my favorite here, followed by red kuri squash. Butternut and acorn squash work, too. the peel of winter squash is fully edible, so no need to trim it away.
Heat the oven to 425°f (220°C).
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp, then slice the halves into 1½-inch wedges. add butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil to a 10-by-15-inch baking sheet, and place in the oven until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. remove the tray from the oven, and roll the butter around so that it evenly coats the pan. arrange the squash wedges in one layer, and sprinkle with thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. roast for 15 minutes, or until deeply browned under neath. flip the slices, and season the second side on top with another ½ teaspoon salt and more pepper. scatter the garlic cloves in the pan, and return the pan to the oven to roast for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the wedges are browned on the second side. Don’t worry if the squash isn’t fully cooked yet. Carefully pour the broth and vinegar into the pan, and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender and the liquid is somewhat cooked off.
To serve the squash: Use the back of a spoon to swirl plain yogurt onto a serving platter into a thin layer. toss the arugula with the remaining tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and scatter over the yogurt. arrange the squash wedges on top, scrape out every bit of pan juice that’s left, and pour it over the squash.
Excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files. Copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Photography copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Book Design by Cassandra J. Pappas. Jacket Photography by Deb Perelman. Food Styling by Barret Washburne. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.