These are Kuri squash and if you see them in a store near you be sure to buy some because — in my opinion — there is no other variety that tastes as good. Also, they’re not around for long, so you have to get them while the getting is good (usually during October and November).
Look for Kuri near the overflowing acorn and butternut squash bins. There may only be a small basket of them.
But do look. They’re worth the time and yes, they are more expensive than the others, but it’s a treat, even if you only cook it once a season.
Kuri are hard shelled, which makes them difficult to peel. You’ll do best with roasting. Cut the squash into quarters, scoop the seeds, wrap the halves in aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the flesh is tender.
Kuri flesh sweet, like all winter squashes, especially when you roast it. The texture is soft and velvety in a way, like chestnut. You don’t need to add any sweetener, but if you must, a tablespoon or two of brown sugar or honey for an entire squash is sufficient.
To make a quick casserole side dish, scoop the flesh from the shell, put it in a bowl and mash it with juice — maybe tangerine or orange juice or apple cider. Add a sprinkle of one spice or another: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and so on. If you like it richer, whip in a small amount of butter.
I buy several kuri squash when I see them and pack away the cooked flesh in small freezer packages. Then I have what I need to make a vegetable side dish or soup or muffins, quickbread and so on.
You can freeze the cooked Kuri squash for about 2 months. I froze a few batches yesterday and also made this side dish, which got terrific reviews:
Kuri Squash with Tangerine
1 large Kuri squash
salt to taste
1 large tangerine
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash into quarters and remove the seeds. Sprinkle the quarters with salt. Wrap them in aluminum foil and close the foil tightly. Roast for 50-60 minutes or until tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh from the skin and place the flesh in a bowl. Grate the tangerine peel into the bowl. Cut the tangerine in half, scoop the seeds and pour the juice from one half into the bowl. Add the honey, butter, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and stir until well mixed. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. Makes 4-6 servings