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Starting with squash. It's a creamy-sweet base for three dinner starters.

Smooth and sweet baked winter squash forms the base for three attractive first courses. Creamed spinach and broiled prosciutto top the squash in the first dish. In the last two inspired by Indian and Chinese recipes-toppings include exotically spiced ground meat.

Golden Squash Florentine

1 pound fresh spinach or 1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 large shallot, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup half-and-half (light cream)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

1/4 teaspoon each dry mustard and pepper

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg Winter squash (directions follow)

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Rinse and drain fresh spinach, discarding roots and wilted or yellowed leaves. Put leaves in a 4- to 5-quart pan on high heat. Stir often until leaves wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Put spinach in a colander; let drain. When cool, press to remove excess moisture.

Over medium heat, combine butter and shallot in same pan used for spinach. Stir often until shallot is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until mixture is golden. Remove from heat and whisk in half-and-half. Place on medium-high heat and stir until boiling. Mix in Worcestershire, mustard, pepper, spinach, and nutmeg to taste. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day; reheat.

With a sharp knife, cut cooked squash into 6 equal portions. Place, skin down, in baking pan. Top squash equally with spinach mixture; drape with prosciutto. Broil 8 inches from heat until prosciutto is sizzling and tinged with brown, about 4 minutes. Set pieces on individual plates. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 137 cal; 8.3 g protein; 6.8 g fat; 13 g carbo.; 313 mg sodium; 21 mg chol.

Winter squash. Rinse 2 pounds winter squash-Hubbard, banana, butternut, Kabocha-or 3 acorn squash (each about 3/4 lb.). Cut squash in half; scoop out and discard seeds. Put squash, skin side up, in a 9- by 13-inch pan. Add 1 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth. Bake, uncovered, in 350[deg] oven until tender when pierced, about 1 hour. Use hot or warm.

Khyber Lamb and Squash Appetizer

Winter squash (recipe precedes)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 pound ground lean lamb

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup regular-strength chicken broth

About 1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons slivered green onions

Lemon wedges

When preparing squash to bake, rub flesh with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder. In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir lamb often with remaining curry, tomato paste, cardamom, cumin, and allspice until meat is crumbly and well browned, about 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch with broth; add to pan. Stir over high heat until boiling. If made ahead, cover and chill up until next day; reheat.

With a sharp knife, cut cooked squash into 6 equal portions and set on plates, skin down. Spoon lamb mixture equally onto each serving. Put a spoonful of sour cream on meat; sprinkle with onions. Accompany with more sour cream and lemon to add to taste. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 257 cal; 2.7 g protein; 15 g fat; 21 g carbo.; 109 mg sodium; 36 mg chol.

Sichuan Pork with Winter Squash

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Winter squash (recipe precedes)

1/2 pound ground lean pork

2 tablespoons salted fermented black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup regular-strength chicken broth

2 tablespoons slivered green onions

Rub 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon ginger on squash before baking. In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium heat, stir pork often until crumbly and well browned, about 5 minutes. To pan, add the remaining ginger and beans, mashing beans.

Mix cornstarch, remaining soy, and broth; add to pan. Stir on high heat until boiling. If made ahead, cover and chill up until the next day; reheat.

With a sharp knife, cut cooked squash into 6 equal portions. Set, skin down, on plates. Top squash equally with pork mixture and sprinkle with onions. Serves 6.

Per serving: 169 cal; 9.7 g protein; 10. 2 g fat; 11 g carbo.; 540 mg sodium; 28 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Words:717
Previous Article:The technique is ancient Chinese. The results are lean, succulent.
Next Article:Crack through the crisp crust for a breakfast treat.
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