Many people eagerly await asparagus in April and fresh corn in July. I'll admit, I definitely look forward to fava beans and morels in the spring, and tomatoes from my garden in the summer. That being said, winter produce has more to offer than most people think. I love winter squash - there are so many different varieties with a wide range of tastes and textures. Over the past few winters, I've also been experimenting more with root vegetables. Parsnips, turnips, celery root and rutabagas have found a regular place on the dinner table.
This recipe from the thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit combines two types of winter squash and parsnips with maple syrup for added sweetness and marcona almonds for crunch. I think that most people are familiar with butternut squash and parsnips, although it does amuse me that the national chain grocery store in my area has parsnips in their "exotic vegetable" section.
Kabocha squash is also known as a Japanese pumpkin. It's usually dark green, but occasionally you'll see one with an orange skin. To me the flavor is similar to butternut, but sweeter. If you can't find kabocha, I think you could just use the butternut and parsnips with good results.The squash and parsnips are first peeled and cubed. Fair warning - peeling winter squash can be a pain, especially for kabochas since they have a thick skin. I ended up with more squash than the recipe called for, so I used the rest to make a pureed soup for the freezer. The squash and parsnips are tossed in a combination of butter, maple syrup, rosemary, salt and pepper. I omitted the garlic and cut the amount of maple syrup and butter in half. I didn't follow the roasting instructions - instead I cooked everything uncovered at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.