Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Braised Acorn Squash and Kale

I've been crazy busy with my Mom visiting from Texas, helping to plan a Fall Festival at my daughter's elementary school (which is Friday--thank goodness!), and a pantry re-model (what was I thinking?!), so here is a blast from past--well, from last December, anyway. This recipe was one of the first times I used kale, and I really liked it. I've made this dish several times since and it's always really good. I've even substituted chopped spinach for the kale with great results.

This started out as Braised Squash with Bacon, Sage, and Apples from Daily Unadventures in Cooking. I was seduced by the gorgeous picture and the promise of unfamiliar flavors. I'd done plenty with winter squash, but kale had always been "the weird green leafy stuff that I don't ever buy".

For my first try, I followed the recipe almost exactly--well, OK, I botched it; I didn't have sage or apple cider, and I totally forgot the bacon. Even with my recipe butchery, it was a beautiful dish. But I couldn't get past the taste of the apple cider vinegar; it was just too strong for me. And I didn't really love the pieces of apple. But I still loved the idea of the recipe, and I really liked the kale, so I tried it again without the apple and apple cider vinegar (I substituted chicken broth). I added some shredded Parmesan cheese and it was wonderful! A simple, delicious, healthy side dish that will add some beautiful color to your plate.

1 acorn squash (or other winter squash)
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2/3 cup chicken broth
3 cups kale, lightly packed, stems removed and chopped
fresh ground pepper to taste
freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Halve squash and remove the seeds. With the cut side down on a cutting board, slice the squash into wedges along the "ribs", peel each wedge, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Set aside.

2. Spray a large non-stick skillet with non-stick spray, and heat it over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and cook until it's started to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the squash and chicken broth, and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork. Stir in the kale and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the squash as much or as little as you want. I left about half of the squash intact. Stir in the pepper, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve.


  1. Pretty AND healthy! I love kale, we've been getting a lot in our CSA boxes so I've been eating a lot of it the last couple of months.

  2. Looks great! I'm about to embark on a kitchen reno so I feel your pain.

  3. @Beth, Thanks! And good luck on your remodel--my pantry is a walk-in that's about 4 1/2 ft x 8 1/2 ft. Redoing the shelves seemed like a wonderful idea until it was all unloaded onto my counters and table. Yikes! Luckily my sister had the great idea to make temporary shelves in the hallway with my buckets of wheat and some old IKEA closet doors. :)


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