Monday, December 14, 2015

Acorn Squash with Holiday Chutney

Four days week ago, after a four-month absence from the kitchen, I announced that I hated cooking. My position has softened. I’ve rediscovered that I like creating new dishes and like following trusted recipes. What I don’t like is slamming together some factory-frozen prepared food because I don’t have five minutes to spare, which is what happened night after night during our lengthy house move.

Perhaps you feel the same - that cooking is boring, that it’s something you don’t really want to do, but have to. Stick with me, kid. Some of the trusted, tested recipes in this blog are family favorites. Some, I’ve got from friends. Some, from cookbooks. Some, from husband Ron, a far better cook than I could ever be. And some, I’ve invented or adapted to create something new. I came up with this Holiday Chutney when I wanted to add some oomph! to everyday squash. I now proudly present my recipe to you. 

If you hate cooking, get creative! Even if you’re short on time, run a little jelly through that pudding made from powder; jazz up that spaghetti sauce mix with fried onions, green peppers, and chili; add toasted nuts, pumpkin seeds, and craisins to that ho-hum brown rice. I wouldn’t exactly turn down an invitation to a good restaurant, but I now like cooking again. 

Acorn Squash with Holiday Chutney:

To Prepare the Squash:

1 acorn squash, unpeeled and quartered

Using a grapefruit knife, remove fibers from centre of cut side. Steam, cut-side down, about 35 min., until fork-tender.

To Prepare the Chutney: 

1/4 c. (60 mL) cold water
10 dried apricots, roughly chopped
About 12 red and green glacé cherries, sliced in halves 
1/3 c. (80 mL) Ron’s BBQ Sauce (see Note)
1 or 2 medium tomatoes, quartered
1/4 c. (60 mL) savory jam (see Another Note
1 c. (250 mL) fresh baby spinach leaves, stemmed and compressed into measuring cup

Bring water just to the boil and remove from heat. Add apricots, soaking 15 min. to soften. Combine apricots, water, glacé cherries, Ron’s BBQ Sauce, tomatoes, savory jam, and spinach leaves in microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high about about 5 min., adding slightly more water, if needed. Fill hollows of quartered squash, serving at once. A little chutney goes a long way: Be skimpy, rather than generous. 

Note: We always try to keep some of this excellent BBQ sauce on hand. Youll find it at:

Another Note: Try some mincemeat or passion-fruit-and-tomato or a mixture of fried chopped onions, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and a few seeded raisins ... In other words, something sticky but not too sweet.

Steam squash about 35 min.

Use a medium tomato ... Not too big,, not too small.

With all ingredients in dish, and stir.

Cook 5 min. in microwave-safe dish.

Chutney will darken and thicken.

Spoon into hollows in squash.

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