Thursday, September 20, 2007

Recipe for Foil-Wrapped Grilled Butternut Squash with Sage

Foil-Wrapped Grilled Butternut SquashThis year when I planted my garden, one of the plants I tried for the very first time was a variety of butternut squash called Really Big Squash. It had been recommended to me by someone at the garden center, and I'm absolutely loving this plant. What's to love is that this type of butternut can grow nearly two feet long (hence the name Really Big Squash!) and the extra growth is a very long neck, so there's a lot more of the meaty part of the squash than with regular butternut. The flavor is wonderful too. This recipe is the second time I've tried combining butternut squash with herbs, and it goes with the sage just as well as it did with rosemary. I cooked this a few weeks ago, when the first squash was ripe and I couldn't wait to eat it, and I loved finding out how easy it was to cook squash on the grill when it's still hot outside and you don't want to heat up the house. You could also bake the foil packets in the oven if you don't have a grill.

Butternut squash is grown in many parts of the world, but in Australia, Europe, and some parts of Asia it's called pumpkin or Butternut Pumpkin. Butternut is a winter squash, a name which refers to squash that's harvested when the skin has turned into a hard rind and which can be stored through the winter. Winter Squash are ranked as some of the world's healthiest foods, with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and this versatile vegetable can be used in many dishes. Since I'm combining my squash with sage, that makes the recipe doubly perfect for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Myriam of Once Upon a Tart.

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, and cut off the stem end and the blossom end. If it's squash from the garden, wash it first before you start cutting!

Use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel the squash. On this type of squash I had to go over it more than once in a few spots to remove the green stripes of peel. Scrape out seeds and stringy stuff around the seeds with a sharp spoon.

Cut the squash into cubes about 1 1/2 inches square. It's important to try to get the pieces all close to the same size.

Toss cubed squash with olive oil, thinly sliced fresh sage leaves, coarse ground black pepper and Spike seasoning.

Put about two cups of the squash cubes into each foil packet. If you don't have heavy-duty foil, I recommend wrapping them twice.

You want to fold over edges of the foil tightly several times, where you pull foil ends up to make the top seam of the folded packet as well as on the ends.

Grill packets about 25 minutes, turning often. You'll probably have to open one to check for doneness, and be careful not to get burned with the steam. Serve hot, with a tiny bit of butter and sea salt to season it at the very end.

Foil-Wrapped Grilled Butternut Squash with Sage
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn, with inspiration from many recipes combining butternut squash with sage.)

1 very large or 2 regular size butternut squash (about 6 cups squash cubes when cut up)
3 T olive oil
30-40 large sage leaves, thinly sliced crosswise
1-2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but highly recommended)
fresh ground black pepper to taste
nonstick spray, to spray foil
1-2 T butter to season at the end (optional)
Sea Salt or Vege-Sal to taste, to season at the end

Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high. You can only hold your hand there 2-3 seconds at that heat. Wash sage leaves, pat or spin dry, then cut into very thin strips.

Wash squash if needed, cut off stem and blossom ends, and cut squash in half lengthwise. Peel squash with a sharp vegetable peeler, scrape out seeds and strings with a sharp spoon, and then cut squash into cubes 1 1/2 inches square.

Put squash into large bowl and toss with olive oil, sage, Spike if using, and black pepper. Stir until squash is well-coated with oil.

Tear foil into 3 pieces about 15-18 inches long. (You will need six pieces if you're doubling the foil.) Spray the inside of each piece of foil with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil. Put about 2 cups squash cubes into each foil packet and arrange in flat layer. Pull foil edges up and fold over to make a seam on top side of the foil packet, then fold in ends, folding over tightly several times.

Put foil packets onto hot grill and cook, turning every five minutes. Check one packet after 20 minutes to see how done they are getting. I cooked my squash just about 25 minutes. They are done when squash is soft and getting slightly browned on the edges.

Toss squash with 1-2 tablespoons of butter if desired, and season with sea salt. Serve hot. This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
This type of squash isn't mentioned on the South Beach list of foods, and I was so happy when I saw it mentioned in The South Beach Diet Parties and Holidays Cookbook. This would be a great side dish for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet. I would serve this with something like Herb Encrusted Grilled Salmon or Grilled Halibut with Garlic Cilantro Sauce with a salad like Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing.

More Tasty Ways to Cook Butternut Squash:
(Recipes from other blog may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Roasted Butternut Squash with Rosemary and Balsamic Vinegar
Steamed Butternut Squash from A Veggie Venture
Amanda Hesser's Butternut Squash Curry from The Wednesday Chef
Butternut Squash with Creamy Tofu, Thyme, and Walnut Stuffing from Christine Cooks
Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage from By the Bay
Brussel Sprout and Camembert Gratin in Butternut Squash from 80 Breakfasts
The Case of a Certain Squash Puree from Orangette
Roasted Butternut Squash from Well Fed
Butternut Squash Curry from Champaign Taste
Chana Masala with Butternut Squash from A Mingling of Taste

Still Want More Squash?
At Blogher I wrote Butternut Squash is a Beautiful Thing.counter customizable free hit


Maria said...

Butternut squash and sage...what a great combo!! I never thought of grilling it in a packet!! Looks great!

Simona said...

I baked butternut squash myself yesterday: it is my favorite squash. I have never cooked it the way you describe. I can imagine how delicious it was.

SusanV said...

Kalyn, you always seem to be a little bit ahead of me! I've been planning to make a chili with butternut squash, but just haven't gotten around to it. Tonight's the night!

Also, I envy you those long-necked squash. Wonderful!

Kelly Mahoney said...

Delicious! I was trying to find some at the market today, but perhaps my local market isn't quite ready for fall yet :)

Rob said...

Ah its good to find a new recipe for butternut. This is my second favourite squash, the first being gem squash (a huge favourite of most South Africans).

When I first moved to this corner of the world things like squash and pumpkin were seen as 'exotic' food and was hard to come by. In the UK now it is fairly common but here in Ireland it is still quite rare, except and farmers markets and of course around Halloween when jack 'o lanterns are quite common.

Kalyn, butternut combines well both with chilli and also with honey for roasting in the oven. Also, if you just cut it in half, stuff the cavity with any mix of your liking, wrap it in foil and put it in the embers of a bbq for a while it is a wonderful meal.

katiez said...

Thank you, thank you! I planted them in my garden too, because I love winter squashes. However, I have never eaten or cooked a butternut - and now I know how. I did not know they were so thinned skinned that they could be peeled... I'm going to pick one tomorrow...maybe I'll check to see it they're ripe first...

Kalyn said...

Maria, I loved the combination.

Simona, my favorite too. I thought it was great like this, and with very little butter.

Susan, I'm never ahead of you! I was a bit premature for this, but the squash was ready and I was so curious about it. Highly recommend this variety.

Kally, thanks. Hopefully soon.

Rob, I'd love to try the Gem squash. I've heard of it but haven't tried it. Great suggestions, thanks.

Katie, I'm not saying they are *easy* to peel. You need a sharp peeler for sure! But when you don't peel it, sometimes the soft peel gets broken off into the cooked squash and I hate that!

Pam said...

I love the idea of making these packets! I do potato rosemary packets all the time, but would have never thought of butternut squash and sage on my own! Thank you for posting this!

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Another wonderful idea! I love the foil packet on the gril concept.

Kalyn said...

Pam and EMWK, the foil packets are great. Nothing to clean up, and your house stays cool.

SteamyKitchen said...

this is SO singing fall!

Lydia said...

Butternut is absolutely my favorite of the winter squash varieties -- not only is it easiest to peel, but so versatile. I love roasting it and then turning it into soup, or making black bean and squash chili (yes, it's so Halloween!). This grilled version looks and sounds wonderful, so that's the next thing I'll try.

Kalyn said...

Jaden, yes, I've decided not to fight the idea of fall any more!

Lydia, hope you like this method.

bea at la tartine gourmande said...

Love this combination Kalyn. Cannot wait to try.

The Skinny Gourmet said...

I love winter squash in all its forms, and this one definitely sounds delicious. It just reminds me of fall leaves in food form! And you have me curious about the annual roundup...will sage be the second "king" of herbs? or will it be a favored vegetable this time. With my transatlantic move I am bowing out of this week's WHB, but plan to be back soon.

Christine said...

Lucky you to be able to grow this hot weather beauty. As soon as I feel Fall coming on I think of butternut squash - in soups, in stews and just cubed and roasted. You made a lovely looking dish.

Kalyn said...

Bea, thanks. I'm trying an experiment today freezing some sage so I can have it all winter.

Skinny Gourmet, good luck with the big move. It sounds like such a wonderful adventure!

Christine, thanks. Nice to see your face pop up! Hope you're not working too hard!

kitchenmage said...

Kalyn, that is really tempting. Nice series of photos. too. Now that you have made squash with sage, try bay, then try stuffing pasta with it. Then invite me to dinner. (oops, darned out loud voice!)

Do we get a hint about next week's shindig so we can plan?

Kalyn said...

KM, there will be a post on Monday with *lots* of details, but the actual two year celebration week isn't until October 8-14. But something fun is happening between now and then, so keep in touch!

sher said...

Hmm, now you have me thinking. Orange food! That's it--you will ask us to make orange colored food for the celebration???

Kalyn said...

Sher, it isn't orange food. And I'm also not requiring everyone to cook with cilantro either!

Julie said...

Hi Kalyn,
Thanks for linking to my Chana Masala! Your recipe looks great--I love butternut squash cooked ANY way.

MizD said...

Considering how much I hate washing dishes, this recipe is just perfect!

I've been wanting to rejoin WHB for ages (er, what, a year and a half?), so it's pretty cool to be catching up here just before your big party!

Hmmm... not orange food, not cilantro... Oh! Cooking with tin foil? ::g::

Kalyn said...

Julie, you're welcome, and me too on the butternut squash.

Miz D, nice to see your name pop up! Nope, tin foil is not what makes this recipe perfect for the celebration.

ejm said...

Congratulations, Kalyn! That squash looks beautiful!! And it sounds delicious prepared that way. (If you have any more, you must try making squash ginger soup garnished with lime)


The Expatriate Chef said...

Love winter squash. Love orange food. Love fall.

Lisa said...

Man, this is another fabulous squash idea. Keith is big on wrapping veggies in foil and putting them on the grill; maybe I can get him to try this. My sage is still going, too. Mmm.

Blogging tips