Winter squash is an incredible vegetable—encased in a hard, protective skin that allows us to store it for up to several months! Winter squash is also very nutritious, as it is an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese. In addition, winter is also a good source of folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3, and pantothenic acid. (Source: The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://whfoods.org/.) The following winter squash recipe comes from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, published in 2007.
Butternut Bean Soup
1½ cups dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
3 medium portabella mushroom caps, sliced (optional)
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon sage
4 teaspoons rosemary
2 butternut or blue hubbard squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1. Combine beans and spices in a large sauce pan, add water to cover amply, simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until beans are tender and most water has cooked off. Add mushrooms toward the end.
2. While beans are cooking, drizzle a large roasting pan with olive oil and arrange squash skin-side-down. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until fully tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and serve each half squash filled with a generous scoop of bean soup.