|Our winter squash sliced and seasoned with Cumin and ready for the grill!|
Full of color, flavor and packed with nutrients, winter squash makes for exceptional seasonal dishes, whether soups, casseroles, or desserts. Harvested in the approaching Fall, they are available all winter long due to their firm shells. With varieties such as sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup, and red kuri, sweetness level is always present.
Naturally low in fat and calories, yet rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and E, you can’t go wrong with any variety you select.
Today, I’ve elected to make cumin squash on the grill using confetti squash, so called due to the beautiful multi-skin coloring. Note, you may substitute any rounded winter squash available near you for this recipe.
To allow for slow roasting on the grill, I recommend a two-zone cooking set up. Lite half the burners on your gas grill – if an odd number of burners, decide how many you need for the cooking temperature. The lit burners should be set to medium to obtain a cooking temperature of about 375°F. Add wood chunks to the lit burner side either directly on the heat shields or in a smoker box. My smoker box accommodates three double filet wood chunks easily. The prepared squash will go on the unlit side of the grill.
Tasting Notes: Your choice of hardwood will determine the boldness of the smoke infusion. I find that the skin of the squash will take most of the smoke vapor so really any hardwood or combination of hardwoods will do. Be sure to keep extra pieces in case you need to replace halfway through the roasting process.
Seasoning the Squash
To start our recipe, first wash and dry off your squash. Then cut in half and remove the seeds. Slice the squash into 1-inch slices and place in a high heat tolerant pan. Once sliced, prepare to toast 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown. If you’re able to locate cumin seeds, toast 1-1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds with the browned sesame seeds. Transfer the seeds to a bowl and allow to cool.
Now prepare the squash seasoning by combining 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper. If you didn’t have cumin seeds, then include 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the squash slices and sprinkle with squash seasoning. Toss to coat all the way around the slices.
Grill-Roasting with WoodWith the grill preheated, the wood chunks smoking, and the temperature gauge reading close to 375°F, I place the trays of prepared squash on the grill grates and close the lid. I allow this to roast for 30 minutes, then I return to the grill, check the wood chunks and add more wood if needed. Briefly toss the squash to ensure even cooking and close the lid again.
Once tender and bronze in color, I remove the squash from the grill and plate to a serving platter. Total cooking time is about one hour though this is dependent on the thickness of your slices and quantity of squash you’ve added to the pan. Remember, the rind of squash is loaded with nutritional value as well and will be very tender so there is no need to discard it. Consume the entire slice.
Roasting winter squash on the grill with wood is the perfect way to usher in the cooler weather and enjoy all this great flavor.
Tasting Notes: You can serve this as is or feel free to process the slices into a puree for use in soups or as a filler to pasta or even desserts. There are many options with grill roasted winter squash.