I was feeling uninspired this week.
Despite the fact that there is a brand! new! chest freezer! in my basement, I haven't been able to muster up the will to do a whole lot of cooking to fill it with a huge haul from the farmers' market. I dragged myself through ten pounds of tomatoes, but the sauce still sits in a pot in the fridge, waiting to be frozen in convenient portions. Taking up an entire drawer are ten ears of corn from which I still haven't cut the kernels.
And then there was the single delicata squash.
It sat on the counter for days, challenging me to think up something. "Come on!" it was saying, "Stuff me with the apples over here and just get it over with already. Geez, lady."
So there I was, dutifully chopping up an apple and preparing to do a standard apple-cinnamon baked stuffed-squash thing when my husband walked over to help. He looked a little crestfallen.
"Oh. I thought we were going to make a squash and apple napoleon."
"...What? Really?" I had never heard of such a thing!
So I shifted focus, and we whipped up something that probably took less time to cook and had way better proportions for offsetting the squash. I'll admit it: I've never really loved baked squash halves, and I wasn't too overjoyed at the prospect of eating them that evening.
Winter Squash Napoleon
I used delicata squash since I had it on hand. I've been seeing them at all of the farmer's markets lately, and City Seeds has particularly good ones. The biggest plus for the delicata squash is that it doesn't require peeling, which can save you a good amount of time and frustration. The taste is a bit more delicate (which my autocorrect keeps trying to sub in for "delicata," so I'm going to run with it) than a butternut squash, so I didn't want to overwhelm it with a ton of brown sugar.
Another note: This didn't stand up to reheating all that well, so I would say that it serves 4 as a side without leftovers.
1 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeds scooped out and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices
1 apple, cored and sliced into ¼-inch lengthwise slices
1 cup cooked lentils (I used some precooked beluga lentils that I'd scored at Trader Joe's a while back)
Juice from half a lemon
1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt (course sea salt was a plus, but isn't a must)
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp curry powder
1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. Toss the squash with the olive oil and thyme in a bowl. Toss the lentils with the salt and garlic in another bowl. Toss the apples with the lemon juice, then brown sugar and curry powder.
3. In an 8 x 8 casserole dish, layer half of the squash, then all of the apples, followed by all of the lentils. Top with the other half of the squash.
4. Bake, covered, for about 35 minutes. The squash should be easily pierced with a fork.
Alissa Nelson is a graduate student and compulsive buyer of cookbooks. She
enjoys scouring seed catalogs and thrift stores alike. Every Wednesday she seeks the bounty of local farmers' markets for Gut Check -- and then cooks it.