Mashed squash works a lot like mashed potatoes. It only takes a tiny amount of moisture to take the dish from perfectly smooth to a soupy mess. Soupy mess squash doesn't hold up well in casseroles, sides and other recipes that require a firmer, drier mash. In many cases, you can add more ingredients or ring out excess moisture to get a better consistency. Try one or more last-minute saves before you introduce your dish to the trash can.
Place the mashed squash mixture into a fine mesh sieve or strainer. Press down on the squash until the excess liquid drains away. Add the squash to a mixing bowl and re-season if necessary.
Bake your squash mixture in a casserole dish or heat-proof bowl to dry out the mix. This may take an hour or more.
Add dry powdered milk or dried instant mashed potato mix a few teaspoons at a time until your squash mixture thickens. Readjust your seasonings to taste.
Line the bottom of a casserole dish with several layers of cheese cloth (bread slices sometimes also work in a pinch) and spread runny mashed squash over the top. Add a few more layers of cheesecloth, and press down just slightly. Let the dish sit until the cheesecloth draws out the excess moisture. The resulting squash mixture will be thicker and less runny.
Add cooked rice, breadcrumbs or other grains to your mash, if desired. This works especially well if you're going to use the mashed squash as a chunky stuffing or filling. For a smoother approach, simmer your mash, and add in quick-cooking oatmeal a few tablespoons at a time. Once the oatmeal's cooked, smooth out the mixture with a stick blender or food processor.
Add in another starchy veggie or tuber, like sweet potato, if desired. Microwave a sweet potato until the flesh is soft and fluffy. Scoop out the flesh, and stir it into the mashed squash. You can also use the freshly baked or microwaved flesh of more squash, such as butternut or acorn. Or microwave grated, raw zucchini or cauliflower until the shreds are soft. Puree, using a few spoonfuls of the thin mashed squash to add moisture. Stop pureeing when you have a thick, slightly dry mixture. Blend with the mashed squash.
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- When preparing squash for this dish, bake the flesh instead of boiling it to avoid excess moisture.
- If you're unable to get your mashed squash to your preferred consistency, don't throw it out. Add it to soups, stews or casseroles instead.
A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.
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