Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 7: Squash Dressing

I love all forms of dressing/stuffing, especially in the cooler weather. Squash dressing is common in the South, probably because it is a tasty way to use up stale cornbread and leftover summer squash, both common and plentiful items. It is quite easy to make and you don't need a recipe, although I will give you one.

The Basic Law of Squash Dressing: Combine equal parts of crumbled cornbread and mashed, cooked summer squash. Add whatever else you like. Bake until it looks done.

A Recipe for the Cautious (photographed above):
2 c crumbled cornbread
2 c mashed, cooked yellow summer squash
2 oz jar chopped pimentos
1/2 c white onion, finely chopped
1/2 c celery, finely chopped
1/2 c green pepper, finely chopped
1 T oil
1 1/2 t poultry seasoning
1 T nutritional yeast
1 c veg broth
salt and pepper to taste

I mixed everything well, spread it in a shallow casserole dish, and baked at 350 F for 40 minutes until it started to brown and looked done.

This recipe was quite good, and very reminiscent of my grandfather's version (which had no recipe and was based on whatever was leftover at the moment). I ate it hot for dinner last night, and cold for breakfast this morning. However, you can twist this around any way you like: change the spices, make it more wet or more dry, use different/more/less vegetables, add some dry wheat bread or crumbled stale biscuits (or that crouton-like stuffing mix) along with the cornbread, include a little baking powder if you want it to puff up... You get the idea. Anything goes. I've made it with all wheat bread when I didn't have cornbread on hand. It was good, but my brain refuses to accept a non-cornbread version. If you are gluten-free, you are in good shape as long as you use an xgfx cornbread.

CORNBREAD: You can use any kind as long as it is not sweet. I used the following recipe: 2 c white cornmeal, 3 t baking powder, 1 t salt, 1 t baking soda, 1/4 c oil, 1 1/4 c unsweetened soy yogurt, 1/3 c whole wheat flour. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet with 1 T oil in the oven until really hot. Add batter. Bake at 350 for about 30 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. I left some of it sitting, cut up, on a plate on the counter to dry out for a day for use in the dressing.

If you don't know how to cook yellow summer squash like a Tennessee farmer, let me instruct you: Chop squash, cover with water in a saucepan, add a little salt, and bring to a boil. Once it it soft, mash it with a potato masher (don't drain), and add a dollop of oil. Continue to cook until it loses a lot of moisture. For the squash I used in the dressing, I cooked it for a total of 90 minutes and could have gone further. My grandfather always cooked it to the point that the oil in the squash began to sizzle on the bottom of the pan. (Some people call this "fried squash" for this reason, although it looks more like yellow mashed potatoes.) Add salt and pepper as needed. I'm sure any mashed squash would be fine in the dressing, but try it this way sometime! Seriously!


Anonymous said...

wow, that sounds good! i've never cooked squash that way, and will definitely have to try it...probably for the purposes of making this dressing!

panda with cookie said...

I have a new catch phrase. Cookin' yellow squash like a Tennessee farmer. yes.

Unknown said...

oh yum! i've never heard of this before, but am gonna try it.