Fall is almost here! Autumn gives me a little more energy for being outside, for socializing, and going places. I know that's partly because the relentless summer heat has finally toned down. But it also has to do with the food.
What is fall without yummy fruits and veggies of the season - sweet potatoes, chestnuts, squash, apples, persimmons, pomegranates. These wonders have been growing all summer and now it's time to indulge.
Squash and Apple Bake with Maple Butter embodies the flavors of fall. While it is a side dish, I always make enough to have it left-over for breakfast, topping oatmeal or with an egg on the side. Or both! This season I'll be sharing more squash types and ways to cook with them, but for now, the butternuts are in the markets and apples are crowding the tables.
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/8" round slices
3-4 apples, cored (about 3-5 apples depending on size), and cut in 1/4" slices
1 yellow onion, cut in 1/8" rings
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs dry green herbs of choice, such as parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory
1 Tbs butter
Preheat oven to 375*. Pour syrup into a 1-cup microwave-safe container. Add mutter and herbs and stir. Microwave on high about 30 seconds, stir, and heat another 15-20 seconds until butter is melted. Stir briskly to mix.
In a 9" round or 8" x 12" baking pan, stack squash, apple and onion slices, alternating squash with apple and tucking in onion rings as you go. Slices should stand upright but slightly at an angle, like a row of books tipped to one side. Continue until all slices are in. Drizzle the syrup mixture over rounds, coating well and separating rounds slightly to allow syrup to drip between the slices.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until squash is soft and tops are caramelized. Remove from oven and let stand 8-10 minutes before serving. Leftover reheat nicely, and are good served over rice or with milk in a cereal bowl.