Saturday, November 26, 2016

Anna Sultana's Butternut Squash Casserole, Maltese Style

Oh, my… less than a month until it’s Christmas!
With all the work and decorating to be done and all the gifts to be bought, it’s time to make some simple, economical meals.

Butternut squash has a smooth beige skin with slightly bulbous base.
They usually weigh between two and three pounds. It has an orange-yellow flesh with a sweet, slightly nutty flavour. 
They are also in season and therefor, cheaper.

I’ve posted these squash recipes:

if you’d like something to add some heft to a dinner why not make a squash casserole?
This is Ma's recipe for a casserole that is similar to scalloped potatoes, but, as with many of Ma's recipes, it is much more nutritious.


To prepare a butternut squash cut off both ends of the squash and peel before cutting it lengthwise in half. 
Scoop out and discard the seeds, then cut the squash into cubes or slices. 

Then again, nobody loves peeling squash. 
An easier way is to cut the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place both halves in a pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350º F. 
Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes, peel and cut into slices. 

Squash can be cut up in advance. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator up to 24 hours before using.

                        Butternut Squash Casserole

Serves 8 as a side dish

Thinly slice
1 small onion

5 slices bacon (or more)
Cool, crumble and set aside. 

Peel and cut lengthwise in half
1 medium butternut squash
Remove the seeds. 
Cut each half into thin slices.
Layer the slices in a dutch oven.
Add enough water to cover the squash. 
On high heat bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, until the squash is tender.

While the squash is cooking, melt in a skillet over medium heat
1 Tablespoon butter 
Add the sliced onion and lower the heat.
Cook and stir 5 minutes.
Stir in
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
Cook and stir 1 minute.
Gradually stir in
1 Cup chicken broth 
Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce is thickened. 
Remove from heat and stir in 
1 Cup old cheddar cheese, shredded

Drain squash and arrange half of the slices in a greased 8-inch square baking dish.
Cover with half of the sauce.
Arrange the remaining half of the squash slices on top of the sauce.
Cover with the remaining half of the sauce.

Top with
1/2 Cup old cheddar cheese, shredded 
the crumbled bacon
Heat oven to 350º F 
Bake 35 minutes or until the mixture is heated through. 

About the sky this week, thanks to the folks at The Farmers' Almanac

November 24 — Hope you topped off your Thanksgiving Dinner by going outside to see The Summer Triangle. It’s high in the western evening sky and still there. Also around this time, in the predawn hours you can look to the southeast sky to see the crescent Moon with Jupiter shining to its upper right and the bluish star Spica well below the Moon and a bit to its right. 

November 27 — The waning gibbous Moon is at apogee, it's farthest from Earth.

November 28 —Barely visible on very dark, clear nights, the planet Uranus is now visible through much of the night among the dim stars of Pisces, the Fishes which this week can be found due south at around 8 p.m. Telescopes show Uranus only as a pale green disk with some fuzzy markings.

November 29— New Moon at 8:27 a.m. Forget it. Just keep looking at Uranus.

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