My father loved winter squash — any variety, he raised them all and loved to eat all of them. His least favorite was the most common, the butternut. It was too wet for his taste so when we cooked one, we had to mix it with other winter squash to dry it out. He always doused it with a good amount of gravy, so it had to be dry to begin with so the gravy would sink in (he also liked his potatoes very dry for the same reason). There’s a wide variety of winter squash to choose from — blue hubbard, acorn, butternut, buttercup, kabocha, carnival, dumpling, delicata, etc — I used an acorn, buttercup, and delicata in my mash but you can use any combination you want. I also use the very smallest I can find since, unless my older brother shows up, I have to eat it all by myself since my son and husband don’t like it.
Wash 3 winter squash and then stab them with a sharp knife to pierce the squash into the center so that the steam can escape while you cook them. Put them in a baking dish with about 1 inch of water and put the dish into a 400 degree oven until the squash are soft. In my case, it took around an hour. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 15 minutes (unless you like burned fingers) before you clean them.
Using some paper towels to collect the seeds and strings from the center and a bowl to collect the meat, cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds and strings onto the paper towels. Once you have them basically out (its okay if a few strings get into the mash), scoop the meat of the squash into a bowl large enough to hold the meat from all 3 squash. Repeat for each squash.
Once you have the meat separated, mix in:
- 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup avocado oil, or if you can use it, vegan margarine; the amount you’ll use depends on how much squash you have in your bowl (for my 3 very small squash, I used 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup agave, maple syrup, or honey (optional) — I actually think winter squash is sweet enough without adding any sweetener, especially if you use a delicata, carnival or dumpling in your mix
Stir briskly with a large spoon (or if you have a lot, use a hand mixer on a low setting) until the squash types and additions are well mixed. If your squash is now too cool to serve, put the squash into a greased baking dish and return to oven to heat up, roughly 15-20 minutes if your oven is already hot.