Meet the mystery squash

At a church sale this spring, I bought a tiny squash starter for its name then promptly forgot it. As the plant matured and began to bear fruit, I scurried about the Internet to find its identity. I settled on "Delicata," because of the stripes and a vague recollection that the name of the squash in question began with the letter "D."

Squash afficionados will recognize the error immediately. While Delicata have the beautiful green stripes, they're large and oblong. As summer wore on, I thought my squash would take on an oval shape as they grew, but they stayed short and squat. A gardener friend speculated that they could be some "buttercup" variant. And I resigned myself to baking them anonymously with brown sugar and a bit of butter.

A chance encounter at the grocer solved the mystery. Tucked into an enormous display of winter squash was a stack of my darlings--"Sweet Dumplings," as it turns out. Small, perfect and pumpkin-shaped, they are noted for their sweet, buttery flesh. Wouldn't they make cunning, individual soup tureens?

The November issue of Martha Stewart Living provided further illumination--a recipe involving the heirloom cucurbits broiled with fresh sage, garlic and cream.


Paraphrasing the recipe: Sprinkle halved squash with salt, pepper and finely chopped fresh sage--not too much. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth to bottom of baking dish and sprinkle four halved cloves of garlic throughout the dish. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes until squash is very soft.

Combine 1/8 to 1/4 cup heavy cream with mashed, baked garlic and a Tbs or two of cooking liquid. Pour over squash. Then broil for three to four minutes.

Divine. I'll never forget their name again!


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