Thanksgiving is just a week or so away, and at our house, turkey traditionally has a place of honor on the table at the family feast. I expect it may also be a tradition at your house.
Most of us, though, have side dishes, sauces, relishes, or desserts that are just as traditional. I make whole berry cranberry sauce, load up an heirloom glass plate with pickles from the pantry shelves, measure pumpkin and pecans into piecrusts, stir up “my famous” macaroni and cheese for the kids, and present a squash from the garden in some form, too.
This year, I have tubs of huge orange Boston Marrow Squash. While leafing through my favorite vintage “Betty Crocker” cookbook the other night, I found an interesting recipe, tried it out, and it was so easy and pretty that I wanted to share it with you.
Betty used sweet potatoes; I used squash and made a few other changes—you can find the original recipe in the Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook (pub. 1958) under “Meringue-topped Sweet Potatoes”.
Here’s what I did:
- First, I chose a large, blemish free squash. I washed it, cut it in half and scooped the insides out and into the nearby “chicken bucket”. (This is a small pail that sits on, in or under my sink—next to the “compost bucket”.)
The chicken bucket holds all sorts of kitchen waste that can go to the coop, and it’s emptied every day or so.
- The squash halves were placed cut side down on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and set in the oven to bake for about an hour at 350 degrees.
- When the squash was out of the oven and cooled enough to handle, I peeled the tough outer skin off. The peelings went into the chicken bucket, and the rest of the cooked squash went into a big bowl.
- I mashed and whipped the squash until it was smooth, then measured out 2 cups of it. The remaining squash (about 4 cups) went into the freezer, and the measured amount went back into the bowl.
- At this point, I wasted one of my precious eggs trying to get a photo of a clever way to separate yolk from white. (The second time, I didn’t take chances and so there’s no photo!) To the squash in the bowl, I added an egg yolk. The egg white went into another bowl.
- Using my large whisk, I whipped the 2 cups of squash, the egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of butter, and a dash each of nutmeg, salt and pepper. When this mixture was smooth, I put it into a greased 1-quart baking dish, and preheated the oven to 350.
- While the oven was heating, I beat the egg white at high speed until it was frothy, and then I gradually added 2 tablespoons of sugar and continued to beat the mixture until it held stiff peaks.
- This meringue went on top of the squash mixture, and then it went into the oven. I baked it for about 25 minutes; the meringue was nicely browned when I removed it from the oven.
For dinner tonight, we had meringue-topped squash. It made a pretty side dish, and it was tasty, as well. The crispness of the lightly sweetened meringue paired nicely with the earthy squash that had just a hint of spice. For holidays, I try to serve family and friends dishes that use what we’ve grown or preserved here on our little homestead. Meringue Topped Squash uses our home grown squash and fresh eggs – and the chickens get a healthy treat as well! It’s likely you’ll find this here on Thanksgiving plates next week—and it just might become a new tradition!