Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Butternut Squash Aigre-Doux


Over the summer, I flipped through Paul Virant’s The Preservation Kitchen while at my favorite cookbook shop and Butternut Squash Aigre-Doux jumped out. I love a new discovery and I decided on the spot that this had to be on my Thanksgiving menu. That was all the justification I needed to buy this gem of a book.

Now, I didn’t actually know what an aigre-doux was, but anything with butternut squash is bound to taste good and I was curious. Aigre-doux is French for sour-sweet, which is always a delightful combination that catches my attention. Fruit or vegetables (think blueberries, asparagus, cranberries or cipollini onions) are cooked with wine, vinegar, sugar and seasonings and transform into something that will make your taste buds tingle.


For this aigre-doux, butternut squash is simmered with sweet onion, maple syrup, wine and vinegar. The original recipe calls for sherry and sherry vinegar, but I used white wine and white wine vinegar instead.


As the rain poured outside, my kitchen filled with a delicious scent from the bubbling pot and all was warm and cozy. When I took my first nibble of squash, it was one of those “oh wow, this is seriously good” moments. The squash is sweet, but not overly so due to the bright acidity of the vinegar. Paul Virant recommends cooking the finished aigre-doux down a bit to form a glaze on the squash and serving it warm on your Thanksgiving table. I will! And I have already served it with soft goat cheese and toasted baguette slices - really, a wonderful combination of flavors and unique way to enjoy butternut squash.


Wishing all of you a warm, happy Thanksgiving holiday this week!

Butternut Squash Aigre-Doux
Makes 4 pints
Adapted from The Preservation Kitchen
By Paul Virant

2 pounds of butternut squash (about 1 large squash), cut in 1/2 inch dice
1 medium sweet onion (I used a Walla Walla), thinly sliced
1 3/4 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups maple syrup (I used grade B)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup white wine vinegar

Have 4 clean pint jars ready. In a large pot, stir together the squash, onion, wine, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the squash pieces out and fill the jars. Add the vinegar to the brine left in the pot and bring to a simmer. Carefully pour the liquid into a heat proof pitcher and pour the brine over the squash in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch space at the top. Push the squash down a little to see if you can add more. You may have some brine leftover and can discard it. Screw the lids on the jars.

Pop the jars in the fridge where they will keep up to one month, but you'll gobble them up before that!

18 comments:

  1. Wow! Getting all French and fancy on us, eh? ;) This sounds intriguing! Anything tastes good with goat cheese and baguettes has to be fantastic!

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    1. You made me smile, Brooke - definitely a sophisticated sounding dish, isn't it? The squash is also good eaten straight from the jar...

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  2. Yum, I never thought of preserving butternut squash, delicious! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family.

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne - I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving, too! This was my first time preserving squash and I'm hooked...thinking about trying kabocha next. I just love this season!

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  3. Serving with goat cheese and baguettes sounds spectacular! Love this...and I can only imagine how comforting this was to be cooking in your kitchen while the rain pounded outside. YUM!

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    1. Thanks, Erina! Happily, there is still some goat cheese and squash stashed in the fridge for snacks this week. And I'm delighted to be cooking with this sunshine today! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and could relax with some celebratory bubbly.

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  4. Can I skip town and just come to your Thanksgiving spread? :-)

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    1. Yes, yes! I'd love to cook for you. :) I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. I'm sure it was marvelously delicious!

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  5. Wonderful! I'm pinning this one. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Aunt B! I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  6. Oooo I bet this was the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. I love anything butternut squash and this is such an unusual take on it. Love it. Hope you had a wonderful holiday.

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    1. Thank you, Beth, this is definitely a unique, tasty way to prepare butternut squash. Fortunately there is a bit leftover so I've been enjoying it straight from the jar.

      Our Thanksgiving was lovely, with lots of family in town. I wish yours had been more peaceful - hopefully you can still have your ex-pat dinner at some point.

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  7. This is exciting! I have a squash surplus and a recipe deficit.

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    1. Lots of squash love these days! I hope you enjoy this one. We just finished the last of this batch yesterday and I'm eyeing some more squash on the kitchen counter now. I appreciate you stopping by!

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  8. I hadn't noticed this recipe in the book, but I LOVE the Preservation Kitchen. Such sophisticated flavors. Thanks for highlighting. (PS the concept of aigre-doux was new to me too...I still need to try one. I did try his sauerkraut but wimped out when it came time to taste it, and wanted to make the peach-saffron jam but well, that's a lot of saffron to buy).

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    1. Isn't this a marvelous book? I have so many post-its in it with recipes I want to try...sauerkraut is one of them. I guess I just need to cook my way through the whole book!

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  9. What a wonderful thing to do with squash...& I am with you I think with a little goat cheese it would be perfect. Book marking for next squash season :)

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    1. Thank you, Mairi! I hope you enjoy it when fall returns for you. Merry Christmas!

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