Don’t squash this idea

Did anyone else see this story in the Times this week and think, “She’s speaking my language?”

I’m talking about pairing squash with chicken—bringing that sweet vegetable* into the savory realm by roasting it with chicken drippings. Although by now, dear reader, you may have figured out that if you roast just about anything with chicken drippings, I will eat it.

I have always been a little ‘meh’ about things like sweet potato and squash—I eat them, I cook them, but they are rarely my favorite thing, mostly because I don’t like to go too intensely to that sweet place during my dinner. So many preparations of these vegetables take you even deeper into that sweet place—roasting and slathering them with butter and brown sugar or maple syrup (even Clark, here, pumps up the sweetness of the squash with a maple reduction, and sorta loses me there).

What I prefer to do is actually coax these vegetables in the savory direction. Which I do, mainly, with more meaty spices like cumin or chile powder, or my absolute favorite, smoked paprika. It may sound incredibly persnickety to say that even the way you prep the veggies will have an effect, but think of it— halved squash= intense mouthful of sweetness; thin slice=just a hint of sweetness, with more surface area coated with spices. I love leaving the skin on the squash, just as you see in this photo; thinly sliced and roasted, that skin becomes edible, a crisp border to the tender squash. If a couple seeds end up making their way into the roasting pan, too, all the better.

*Yes, Botany Police. I know it’s really a fruit.


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