Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook, by Jerry Trundled
This is one of those dishes that reminds me again how easy and delicious local can be. The squash? Elizabeth Telling. The cider? Thomas Family Orchards. The herbs? Back yard. Local? And then some.
Butternut is particularly easy to handle, but two delicata squash are equally wonderful, here. If using the latter, halve lengthwise and slice into ½” rings. To peel either squash, use a Y-peeler if you have one. Otherwise, use a sharp standard vegetable peeler. I go over the squash twice, to get the firm under-layer. This is the work of two minutes, max.
Fresh herbs shine here; do not substitute dried. I have, however, had good results generously doubling the rosemary, when our fresh sage withered. Sherry vinegar has a wonderful mellow sweetness. Apple cider vinegar makes a fine substitute.
1 medium butternut squash (around 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup fresh sage, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cups fresh apple cider
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
Peel your squash by going over the exterior twice with a Y-peeler or standard, sharp vegetable peeler. This goes quite quickly, two minutes, tops. Top and tail the ends with a sharp chef’s knife, then halve squash lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds. Cut into ½” cubes.
Melt butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over low. Add chopped sage and rosemary, and stew slowly in the butter, cooking 3-5 minutes until butter becomes golden, leaves soften, and the kitchen is fragrant with their scent. Do not brown the herbs.
Add cubed squash to skillet, then apple cider, water, vinegar and salt. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy glaze. Taste for seasoning (I usually add a touch more salt here, and sometimes a pinch of sugar), and add freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.