The mystery squash

Sweet dumpling squash

Sweet dumpling squash

Way back at the start of the year, I sowed what I thought were butternut squash seeds. The plants grew healthy and strong, and I had way too many for my garden so happily dished out the excess plants for my friends to grow. As the season went on, the plants snaked  across the veggie plot, and everyone commented on how well their plants were doing.  However, there appeared to be just one teeny problem. As the flowers subsided and the fruits developed, they looked to be anything BUT butternut squashes.

Instead of being smooth, pear-shaped and pale orange, these were like knobbly little pumpkins. What on earth were these mystery vegetables? And how big should they be before you pick them? Were they actually pumpkins? So many unanswered questions…

One thing was certain: I’ve never seen them in any of our local supermarkets.

After an extensive rustle around on the t’interweb, I discovered that what we’d all grown were, in fact something called sweet dumpling squash. Now, I’ve never even heard of these, let alone know what to do with them, but a further dig about revealed that they can be used in exactly the same way as butternut squash. They’re just slightly sweeter and a different shape. Phew!

That cleared up I set about transforming them into a hearty soup.

This one appeared in The Hinckley Times on 3 October 2013

The Hinckley Times 3 October 2013

The Hinckley Times 3 October 2013

Advertisements

Brandy mashed squash

Sweet dumpling squash and cumin on roasting tray

Sweet dumpling squash and cumin on roasting tray

Just a quickie (oooerr Missus!) this morning.

Since I made soup with my sweet dumpling squash, I’ve been looking around for other ways of transforming them into culinary delights. Woman cannot live on soup alone…

Yesterday, I hit upon a beauty – easy and delicious, and it may even make its way onto the Christmas menu. Mashed squash.

  1. Halve the squash, remove the seeds and cut into eighths
  2. Roast at 180 degrees with a sprinkling of cumin seeds for about half an hour
  3. Remove from the oven, allow to cool down slightly and remove the skins
  4. Add a knob of butter and a dash of milk and mash together

And this bit is where the magic happens…

Add a splash of brandy mix well, reheat and serve.

Went down a treat!

This would work well with sweet dumpling or butternut squash.

Sweet dumpling squash and courgette soup

Now I’ve found out that my mystery squash was a sweet dumpling, I thought I’d transform it into a lovely autumn soup.

Sweet dumpling squash

Sweet dumpling squash

Serves 4

You will need:
1 sweet dumpling squash (butternut would work just fine though)
1 medium onion
400g courgette or marrow
1 vegetable stock cube
1/2 litre of water
A spoonful of creme fraiche (or cream)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

First of all I cut my squash in half and took out all the seeds. I then chopped it up roughly, drizzled with oil and sprinkled some cumin seeds on the top. Into the oven it went on 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Sweet dumpling squash and cumin on roasting tray

Sweet dumpling squash and cumin on roasting tray

To be honest, the marrow was an afterthought as I had some lurking around in the fridge that needed to be used up. I chopped it up (about 400g) and added this to the roasting tray. The whole lot went back in the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Sweet dumpling squash and courgette

Sweet dumpling squash and courgette

I use a soup maker, but a large pan with do just fine. Chop up the onion and add it to the pan, and saute gently until translucent. Separate the squash from the skins, and add the squash flesh and marrow to the pan.

Chuck in a crumbled stock cube and half a litre of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

Blitz until smooth, and stir in a generous dollop of creme fraiche or cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

And the verdict? Absolutely delicious! Roasting the vegetables with cumin really brought out the flavours and the result was a lovely, warming soup. Next time I might even whack half a chilli in there. I think it can take it…

Four portions of sweet dumpling and courgette soup

Four portions of sweet dumpling and courgette soup

Sweet dumpling squash

I thought it was a butternut squash I was growing, but the fruit was nothing like anything I’ve bought in the shops. After a trawl around Google, I discovered it was a sweet dumpling squash, and it should taste very similar to butternut.

Now I’ve found out what my mystery squash is, I suppose I’d better find out what on earth I do with it…

Sweet dumpling squash

Sweet dumpling squash

Fruits & Veggies More Matters : Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Sweet Dumpling Squash : Health Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables.