Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apple, Acorn Squash & Pecan "Fall" Rolls

I made something for you. Well, I really made it for me; but I tried to make it pretty for you. See, my dad brought me home a "present" from the grocery store as he is prone to do these past few months. This time it was an acorn squash to accompany the two pumpkins he purchased for my carving pleasure. The thing about acorn squash is that I'm (1) not particularly fond of winter squash, and (2) have never cooked with it before. And before you get all up in arms about my lack of winter squash love, just know that it's a textural thing--their starchiness computes as mealiness on my tongue, which is a feeling I don't enjoy. Despite my misgivings, I soldiered on and cooked with it--and that's got to count for something.

The first thing I decided was to make some sort of pocket or turnover. We'll get to that in a paragraph. Besides noticing a lot of recipes out there pairing butternut squash with apple, I didn't really find much interest or variety in winter squash recipes. My assumption is that the general public feels the way I do. Just go with it, okay? Armed with this lone apple-centic fact, I decided to forgo my legal training and impose upon acorn squash the same symbiotic relationship--I declared that apples would go well with acorn squash; after double-checking with Twitter, of course. Then I decided on onions and butter. And then bacon and cheddar cheese. But guess what? Someone whose familial identifier begins with BRO and ends with THER ate the last of the bacon. And after adding some cinnamon and nutmeg at the behest of my dad, cheddar was forgotten. Even without pork fat and cheese, I still think I beat the acorn squash at its game. Totally impressive.

Let's quickly talk prettiness and pockets. The internet taught me that cubed and cooked acorn squash isn't very pretty (and this picture will confirm that). When faced with ugly yet potentially delicious food, my first move is to devise a way to disguise it. I chose phyllo/filo for this dish because I wanted something light that wouldn't add heaviness to an already starchy filling. I think I chose wrong. Never having worked with the stuff before, I followed directions on how to defrost and use it and it still gave me problems. It kept ripping and cracking and basically hated me. Add that to the fact that my hands still ached from spending four hours yesterday using a host of random kitchen items to carve the pumpkin to the left, and I was creating some pretty hideous triangles. Hell, some of them weren't even close to triangles. Eventually I admitted defeat and decided to just use the salvageable strips and make rolls instead--some of which were even uglier than the deformed triangles. You only get to see the passable ones. I made my family eat the ugly ones.

They're supposed to love me anyway. Right?

Apple, Acorn Squash &
Pecan "Fall" Rolls

2.5 lb. acorn squash
3/4 lb. sweet apples
1 cup onion, chopped
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
raisins (optional)*

1 package phyllo

*My brother said raisins. I think that's gross. Whatever.

1. Preheat oven to 350F and place a large pot of water on stove to boil. Make sure your squash fits in that pot!

2. Core and slice apples. Feel free to leave skin on or not.

3. Place squash in boiling water and cover. Cook for three minutes. Drain pot and re-fill with cold water. Figure some way to keep squash in the water--I flipped the lid & placed my apples on top.

4. When squash is cool to the touch (about 5 minutes), cup in half and remove seeds. Skin should be quite easy to scrape and peel off with a knife or a spoon at this point. Remove the skin and chop into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch cubes.

5. Toss apples and chopped onions in a large saute pan. When onions and apples are soft and translucent, add squash to pan. Pour butter evenly over the squash and mix around. Cover and let cook until soft.

6. When soft, add chopped pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add raisins if you're using them. Cook for 2 more minutes, taste and adjust seasoning. Remove from stove.

7. Use phyllo sheets per instructions to create rolls or pockets. You can also make your own dough or even use wonton wrappers. You can also just eat the squash as a side.

8. Bake rolls for 10 minutes or until browned.


eatgreek.net said...

it looks delicious! :D

Amy said...

These sound so good! I love phyllo dough, and even better that you stuffed it with yummy things like squash, apples and pecans :)!

Yesim said...

it looks amazing and i m really surprize one more time to see squash in another way:)

briarrose said...

Yummy. Nice use of phyllo dough....it may not always look pretty but I bet it tasted delicious. ;)

Victoria K. said...

You're so funny! I make my family eat my ugly food too! I think your rolls look good, and I love the idea of "Fall" rolls as opposed to spring or summer ones, very clever, my friend ;-) Good job on your first time using winter squash AND phyllo! Phyllo can be very tough to work with and sometimes you get a pain in the butt package that cracks and tears left and right, and then another package will be awesome. It's so weird. Maybe next time you'll have better luck :)

Stephanie @ Per l'Amore del Cibo said...

I'm totally with you on the non-love for winter squash. These sound good though!

May Ling Wu said...

Looks amazing! I have to try these for a dinner party next week. Phylo kinda scares me since I've never worked with but willing to give it a try :)

apiciusapprentice said...

The pictures look awesome! And the recipe sounds like a hit!!

sara @ CaffeIna said...

I never used phyllo before and with these "rolls" you inspired me! They look amazing. Also, I never tried acorn squash together with apples....you really got me intrigued with this post! I guess...you'll have to make them again and bring some over next time you will be in the bay area...for example for food buzz festival :)

gringarl said...

ha ha ha
Phyllo, in my opinion too, is hard to work use, sometimes, when possible i substitute it with yufka sheets.
Your rolls look so great, don't know why you think different

Monet said...

I also make Ryan eat "the ugly ones". He now knows to grab the ugliest roll or cupcake whenever he wants to sample my treats! I also have a hard time with that filo dough. I think when you're working with hearty fillings...filo just isn't the way to go. But goodness, you made these rolls work! I could have easily enjoyed each and every one!


Yeah, my family always have to munch on the rejects when I'm making something for a party. too funny! I think they sounds great!

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

These actually sound really good, they don't look ugly to me, I'd eat them! I wanted to pass a lovely blog award on to you! Have a great day!

Melodie said...

These look gorgeous. Amazing! And vegetarian too. Love it love it love it. Found you through the #Real Food Daily on twitter. We were both on it! :)

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