Actual prep time, 1 hour
Level of difficulty: 2.00
Try to select a squash that is fairly uniform in shape with a relatively large “barrel” on the one end. Wash the vegetable in cold water and pat dry. Some discoloration of the surface may remain as a result of exposure to direct sunlight and other weather conditions. Cut the squash in half as pictured, separating the barrel section from the spherical section.
Preheat the sous vide bath to 183 F/84 C.
Set the barrel shaped section aside for the time being.
Thinking it through
Do not attempt to peel the spherical end. Cut in half lengthwise, exposing the seeds.
Cut in half again, creating four wedges. These wedges weigh approximately 5.5 oz/150 g each.
Use a spoon to remove the seeds by “catching the corner” at either end. With a little attentiveness, the seeds will all come out at once. Discard the seeds.
Vacuum seal the individual wedges in heat rated plastic bags. Set aside.
A little planning goes a long way
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the husk from the uniform surface in long strokes. This skin is thicker than most vegetables so it is a good idea to peel it “twice” to assure there is none left when you’re done.
Lay the squash down on its side and use the peeler to finish removing the skin from the curved end. Cut off the tough stem.
Vacuum seal the whole barrel in a heat rated plastic bag.
Load the packaged squash into racks.
Process at 183 F/84 C for 60-90 minutes. Inherent variations in individual characteristics and ripeness of the vegetable can affect the interval slightly. Doneness can be tested by lightly squeezing the package. Because of the unique characteristics of sous vide processing, the vegetable softens uniformly from surface to center.
When the vegetable yields to a gentle pinch, it is done all the way through.
Once the process is completed, cold shock the packages in iced tap water until they achieve 70 F/21 C. Refrigerate at 40 F/4 C. The squash is now fully denatured, pasteurized and preserved. The sealed packages can be safely held refrigerated in this state for at least one month without deteriorating in quality, texture or appearance.
The barrel end can be cut into wedges and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. Coat with a small amount of oil and simply grill in a cast iron broiler pan as above. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley or mint.
Sweet potato style
The cylinder can be cut into thick slices, sprinkled with cinnamon and heated in a 350 F/176 C oven (or even carefully microwaved). Garnish with caramel coated walnuts and orange wedges. Drizzle with maple syrup and melted butter.
Click on the link above to see the full recipe!
Makes a great sandwich!
Makes a terrific accompaniment with meat dishes! Above and below, smoked pork butt with radishes and assorted sauces.