Winter Share

[Posted by Ruth]

Stone Gardens Farm offered a winter share pick up in January.  I hope plenty of people took advantage of it.  It was a great value and a great way to continue to support a local farm.  We got 5 nice sized butternut squash, 3 acorn squash, an enormous bag (5 lbs+) of carrots and a head of cabbage.  We also opted for a dozen eggs and a fresh chicken while we were at it.  As always, the quality was excellent.  The carrots are especially sweet.  We had some of them with a honey, ginger, grapefruit glaze but scarfed them up before I could get a picture.

I wanted to get going on using up some of the butternut squash right away and also wanted to make something a little different this time.  I suppose we can call it a gratin, since it contained goat cheese, although it was not as rich as gratins usually are.  The flavor was almost like a warm salad.  The maple syrup played up the sweetness of the squash while the sherry vinegar and the goat cheese gave it some more depth and kept it from being too sweet.  We had this is a main course and it was very satisfying.  It would also work well as a hearty side dish to simple roast chicken, etc.

Gratin of Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese

8 cups Butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (this was 2 medium sized squash)
1/2 cup diced Onion
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T fresh Sage leaves, minced
3-4 T Maple Syrup
2 T Sherry vinegar 
1 cup coarsely chopped Walnuts
4-5 oz fresh Goat Cheese
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly butter a large casserole dish.  Cook onion in olive oil over medium heat until softened and translucent, but not browned.  Stir in the sage, maple syrup and vinegar cook for about 1 minute.  Toss the cubed squash with the onion mixture, walnuts, salt and pepper in the casserole until well blended.  Break the goat cheese into small pieces and gently mix into the squash mixture.  Dot the top with the 2 T butter, cover and bake for about 1 hour, until squash is cooked through.  Remove cover, raise heat to 375 and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Serve.