This recipe, adapted from Southern Living, allows for the hard winter squashes that provide the perfect stored crops for the winter an opportunity to cook while you sleep. All you need is butter, maple syrup, and a crockpot (or slow cooker). And, of course, the squash.
½ cup water
2 acorn squashes, cut in half and seeded
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons maple syrup
optional additions: diced bacon or ham, salt and pepper
1. Put water in cooker dish.
2. Place squash halves in water, arranging so that they are not piled on top of each other.
3. Put a tablespoon of butter and of maple syrup into each half, and add optional ingredients, if desired.
4. Cook on high for one hour, and then lower heat and cook on low for 6 hours.
I was attuned to the possibility of cooking winter squash in this way after roasting a sweet delicata squash for the farm-to-fork food sampling program that I do at the Franklin Community Center. To cook that particular squash, I had to bake it in a hot oven for nearly an hour. After it was soft, I sliced it into rounds and drizzled them with butter. The squash was a hit, but I had to admit that it required more planning and more work than those accustomed to the ease of yellow crooknecks or zucchini. My husband suggested putting it in the slow cooker. I bookmarked the idea, and finally got a chance to try it out tonight.
Other websites propose using a slow cooker to avoid the prep work of winter squash. Delicious as it is, these squash often are a pain to prepare. They require sharp knives (and patience) in order to be cut into halves, and then time to scoop out the seeds and fleshy, unappetizing innards. The work is much faster if the squash is already cooked. Cutting them becomes as easy as slicing through butter and the cleaning of innards goes much faster.
You can do the same with spaghetti squash.