Mountain Chef: Celebrating Colorado squash |

Mountain Chef: Celebrating Colorado squash


Fall is finally here – the leaves have vanished, skis and snowboards are filling roof racks as studded tires buzz by. It brings to mind a few things such as hearty winter foods and snow-filled holidays – which means great food with friends and family. What types of fruits and vegetables are out there this time of year? Squash is one, and Colorado has tons of them.

Squash is one of the three native crops of the Americas, including corn and beans. It can be dated back almost 2,000 years and believe it or not it is actually considered a fruit! They can generally be divided into two categories: summer and winter. Summer squash, such as zucchini, yellow and crookneck tend to have delicate skin, edible seeds, mild flavor and cook quickly. The harder winter squash like pumpkins, spaghetti, acorn, and butternut are harvested later to develop a firm shell on the outside and can be stored in a cool, dry place for the long winter months, but they do require a bit more cook time. Both summer and winter squash offer great nutritional value including vitamins A and C – along with niacin, iron

and riboflavin.

Squash offers an infinite number of culinary options from sweet to savory, soups

to side dishes and everywhere in between and beyond. Be creative with all those beautiful gourds and experiment with simply baking, steaming, simmering and even grilling. These recipes have hints of aromatic spice with simple

flavors and preparation. They can be made ahead of time if adding to any holiday menu. And with the variety of squash we have here in Colorado, you can try many kinds with the same recipe. It’s a great way to add some tasty menu items at an economical price.

1 spaghetti squash, split lengthwise then cut

into thirds crosswise

1 large red onion, julienne or matchstick cut

3 T olive oil

4 T butter

1 T brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

dash cardamom

1/2 tsp orange zest

3 T orange juice

Preheat oven to 450 F. Steam the squash until skin

is soft when pressed, then cool to the touch. While squash is steaming, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add 3 T oil and coat the bottom of the pan, add onions and stir to coat in oil. Cook slowly, stirring regularly until golden brown. Once cool to touch, scoop squash from skin and place in a mixing bowl with the caramelized onions. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well, stirring gently. Place in a greased baking dish in an even layer and bake until golden brown and bubbling.

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed

2 carrots, rough chopped

1 celery stalk, rough chopped

1 onion, rough chopped

1 T garlic, minced

1 T ginger, minced

1 T fresh lime juice

1 -1/2 qts vegetable stock

1 cup coconut milk

2 T oil

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1. Preheat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add oil and coat the bottom of the pot then add carrots, onion and celery and sweat vegetables until onions are translucent, then add garlic, ginger, squash and seasonings(spices) and continue to cook 2-3 minutes or until spices become fragrant.

2. Add veggie stock, bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook until squash is soft.

3. Allow to cool before pureeing in blender – or use hand-held immersion blender.

4. Once pureed, return to medium heat and add coconut milk, bring to a simmer and cook 2 more minutes stirring regularly.

5. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice

6. In a blender process cilantro and yogurt until smooth, season with salt and garnish bisque.

Ian T. Buchanan is the chef/owner of Open To The World Private Chef Services and lead instructor at CMC Breckenridge’s Center For Lifelong Learning Culinary Program. View his website or contact him at (440) 376-0096.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.