Delicata (Cucurbita pepo) is an easy-to-work-with, super-versatile creamy-fleshed squash, with the best benefit of not having to be peeled - and the outer skin is edible. Yes! Think of all that nutrition.
Though considered a winter squash, Delicata is more closely related to summer squashes (like Zucchini), and due to the thinner skin, do not store as well as other winter squashes (like Butternut). A ripe Delicata squash will be yellow (pale green when unripe). One cup of Delicata is only 40 calories, fat-free, sodium-free, and is loaded potassium and vitamins A and C. Delicata is also reasonably inexpensive. I bought a 1.3 pound organic squash for $1.89; Trader Joe has conventional Delicata for 99 cents each. Get 'em while you can.
I feel the best way to enjoy a Delicata (or any) squash is to oven-roast the flesh, tossed in a little olive oil or melted butter - and in this recipe, I used sliced Delicata as a "roasting rack" for chicken thighs. Ready for the oven
I made a sauce with:
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
2 cloves minced garlic
...then tossed the sauce (it made about 1/2 cup) over half-moon sliced Delicata and four chicken thighs (with bones and skin; about 1.5 pounds). I let the squash and chicken marinate for several hours, then placed the squash evenly in the bottom of a baking dish, arranged the chicken on top, drizzled the marinade over all, and baked at 375° for 45 minutes. The key is to slice the squash about 1/4-inch, as thicker slices would require a longer roasting time than the chicken... and nobody likes crunchy squash.The result was a sweet-and-sour-and-savory dish that would serve four people. The dinner was delicious, nutritious and inexpensive. I also served tossed greens. Pick up a Delicata squash this week!
You may also like:
Delicata Squash and Roasted Mushrooms with Thyme
Baked Delicata with Cream and Parmigiano
Several Delicata recipes from Heidi Swanson
More squash ideas from Bon Appetit Magazine
Until my next update, I remain, your squashed correspondent.