Stewed Summer Squash

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That Norah Jones song has been stuck in my head for days now. I was conversing with a couple of folks about how it’s mid-August, and it pretty much feels like the summer is over.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  Is this a form of pessimism, or is it now our working-bee nature to be constantly ready to move on to the next thing?  That sounds good.  Let’s add another thing to blame on the Man.   

Honestly though, I’m really not complaining. Summer is great for fun in the sun, but how can you hate on fall?  Fall is my favorite.  The coolest person I know was born in the fall (hint:  it’s me).  It means no more construction and Christmas around the corner.  Not to mention, I am such a sucker for changing leaves, soups, breads, pies, anything that can be made in a crockpot, and football.  I love everything that comes with it.  So what if I epically failed on going to the beach even once this summer (you know, that ocean that I live 3 miles from but cannot be bothered to visit) nor my pool that is right outside my window.  No regrets.  We have a couple weeks of summer left (even though it doesn’t feel like it) and we will make the most of it, right everyone? 

So, in honor of summer, I have the last of my summer squash, courtesy of my mother. Growing up, we ate summer squash all the time.  I have too many recipes for summer squash than I know what to do with, also courtesy of my mother.  Here is my favorite one, and it is certainly different.  It may not be something you’re accustomed to, but I promise you it’s full of flavor and comfort.

Stewed Summer Squash

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 min
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Materials:

  • Measuring spoons
  • Large stock pot or Dutch oven
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Wooden spoon
  • Veggie peeler
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

Ingredients:

  • 1-oz. Salted/cured meat, such as bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, or salami, diced
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2T garlic, crushed
  • 2 large yellow squash*
  • 2c chicken stock**
  • 1T black pepper
  • 2T milk (any kind)
  • 1/4c parmesan cheese (optional, and amazing)

*Note:  By large, I mean about the size of your entire forearm.  If you are working with smaller squash, increase to 4 or 5 squash.  You will want leftovers!

**Note:  I used a chicken bouillon cube and two cups of water.  I tend to do this with my cooking… it’s easy to store, and much more economical.

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven (my preference) over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is shimmering (don’t let it smoke, that means it’s burning), place your cured meat of choice in the oil and simmer.  Pour a little stock in the pan so that the meat doesn’t burn, and you get some good juices to work with.
  3. After 3 minutes or so, throw in the diced onion.  Add about ½ c more stock to the pot, cover, and simmer.
  4. While your pot is simmering, prepare your squash:
    1. First, selectively and lightly peel the lengths of the squash.  This will allow the squash to cook faster, and will provide a better texture that we are looking for in the end.  Do not peel completely.  Leave a few strips of flesh per squash intact.
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    2. Cut off ends and discard.
    3. Cut squash into 1/2- inch thick pieces, as shown:  IMG_2001
  5. When your squash is cut, place into the onion and meat mixture, along with the garlic, black pepper, and another cup of stock.  Give it a good stir.  Cover again.
  6. Let this cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (If your mixture is sticking (or burning) to the bottom of the pan, add a little more stock.)  Remove lid and continue cooking.  
  7. Your squash will be done when you can easily mush a piece down with a fork or back of a spoon.  When you get to this point, turn off the burner and smash away!  Mush down most of the squash gently… remember, we aren’t making soup!  IMG_2018
  8. Add your milk slowly (a little splash for taste), and sprinkle in parmesan cheese. 
  9. Serve hot and enjoy!  
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