An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook

12.07.2011

Butternut Squash with Shallots (Roasted vs. Pressure Cooked)



I was a lucky girl last month for many reasons.  First of all, when we had M's going-away-to-vacation dinner party, her sister C made the best squash dish I think I have ever had.  It was roasted butternut squash cooked with shallots and topped with a light parsley dressing...AND I got a plastic container full of leftovers.  So during the Thanksgiving season, the squash revisited our table.
I was also lucky, because I got to borrow a Fissler pressure cooker from Allrecipes last month too.  And so I set out to compare the time saving abilities of a pressure cooker.  My main experiment was on the squash.  Roasting does lend itself to a nice rich product, but it does take upwards of an hour.  So I wanted to see how much time a pressure cooker would save on this particular dish.  Being the novice pressure cooker that I was, I hadn't ever thought about how the pressure that builds inside a cooker has to be generated from liquid.  And after reading the instructions for the cooker, I learned there had to be at least 2 cups of liquid in the cooker for it to work.

So this was going to change the consistency of the dish.  I wanted to keep it really flavorful, and I had just happened to have opened a bottle of white wine around the same time, so I figured, why not go wild and pour some into the cooker.  I also had a fresh container of chicken broth, which would also add a nice herbal dimension.

And the outcome?!  I liked them both for very different reasons.  The roasted squash dish had a much richer depth to it from the almost caramelized effect of roasting.  The pressure cooker version was lighter, especially with the lemon juice addition and the fruitiness of the wine.  They both made for really good leftovers...again.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Shallots
from C at M's going away party

1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and sliced in 1/4th inch cross-sectional cuts
3 shallots, peeled and chopped in half
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large oven proof dish or a parchment lined baking sheet, toss the squash and shallots with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil until every piece is generously coated.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for 45-60 minutes until the squash is very tender.

Meanwhile you can make the dressing by whisking the vinegar, parsley and mustard.  Slowly pour in the olive oil last, while continuously whisking.

Remove the squash and shallots from oven, transfer to a serving dish.  Toss with the dressing.  Adjust any salt and pepper needs.  Serve alongside your favorite main dish or bring to a dinner party.  Your guests will be elbowing for seconds.




Pressure Cooked Butternut Squash and Shallots with Wine
Adapted from C's original recipe

1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and sliced in 1/4th inch cross-sectional cuts
3 shallots, peeled and chopped in half
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

At the beginning, treat the pot part of your pressure cooker like any other pot.  Drop in the squash pieces, shallots, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Over medium heat, saute them for about 5 minutes until lightly cooked.  Pour in the wine and chicken broth.  Put the lid on top of your pressure cooker, close and lock it.  Turn the heat up and allow the pressure to build.  Every pressure cooker is different, but the particular Fissler version that I was borrowing has a blue circular device that rises.  When two white rings appear, the pressure has built.  So do the same version with your pressure cooker.  Once the pressure is built, turn the heat down as low as possible.  Cook for about 8 minutes.  Turn off heat, slowly release the pressure ( a lot of steam will emit, enough for a mini facial if it isn't hot).  Unlock the lid, and remove the goods.  With a slotted spoon, remove the cooked squash and shallots.  Toss with lemon zest, juice and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve as a side dish or like I did, alongside an over-medium cooked egg.  Use the leftover liquid for your favorite soup recipe.

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