Arboretum Magazine Web Extra Arboretum News

Gardener Jenny Thull’s Favorite Squash Recipes

Arboretum gardeners John and Jenny Thull grew 325 varieties of cucurbita (pumpkins, squash and gourds) at the Arboretum this year, and Jenny has cooked with every one of them to see how they taste. As a trained chef, she’s also researched squash recipes from around the world and developed a variety of recipes to highlight the flavors of squash and pumpkins. Find a few of Thull’s favorite recipes below.

Jenny Thull for Web Extra

Crispy Delicata Squash Pancakes


2 medium Delicata Squash, grated on medium holes of box grater and squeezed dry (skin included)

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno

1 large egg, beaten

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

Kosher salt


6 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon wedges and sour cream for serving


In a medium bowl combines squash with scallions, jalapeno, egg, flour and baking powder. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoon of the oil. Spoon 3 heaping 1/3 cup mounds of batter in skillet and press lightly to flatten them. Cook over medium high heat until golden, about 3 minutes.

Flip the pancake, add 1 tbs oil and cook until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes longer.

Drain on paper towel.

Repeat with remaining oil and batter.

Serve the pancakes hot with lemon wedges and sour cream.


Beef, Barley, And Blue Kabocha Squash Soup


1.5 -2 lbs Boneless Beef Chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 medium ribs celery, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

6 cups low salt chicken broth

2/3 cup pearl barley

3 dried bay leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated

1 Medium Blue Kabocha Squash (or any blue squash such as Triamble, Jarrahdale, blue Hubbard), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ inch cubes, about 3 ½ cups

¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

¼ cup half and half


Position rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and then toss in large bowl with 2 tablespoons flour.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook half the beef until browned on several sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to plate and repeat with remaining beef.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the pot and add onions, carrots, celery, pinch of salt, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add wine and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon and cook until evaporated, for 7-8 minutes.

Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 5 cups broth. Stir in Barley, bay leaves, nutmeg, sage, ½ teaspoon salt. Add the beef with residual juices. Bring to a boil. Cover, snuggly with foil and tight-fitting lid and braise for 1 hour until beef is almost tender.

Stir in squash and remaining 1 cup broth. Cover with foil and lid and braise for 30 minutes until squash and beef are very tender

Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in parsley and half and half. Season with salt and pepper as needed.


Jenny Thull’s Speckled Hound Pumpkin Pie

Yield:  1 9-inch Pie


For the crust:

1 and ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening

2 tablespoons cold vodka

2 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

3 large eggs plus two large yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

15 ounces of Speckled Hound Squash puree (Or any pumpkin puree, but Speckled Hound is the best!)

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup Maple Syrup

2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon kosher salt


For the crust:

Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining).

Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.

Empty mixture into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400°F.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side.

Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and fore finger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pie pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights. Bake on rimmed baking sheet for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and weights and rotate plate, and bake 5 to 10 additional minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove pie plate and baking sheet from oven.

For the filling:

While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks, and vanilla together in medium bowl.

Combine pumpkin puree, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes.

Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer.

Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm prebaked pie shell.

Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to 300°F and continue baking until edges of pie are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 20 to 35 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.


SHRIMP IN A PUMPKIN (Camarão na Moranga)

Serves: 6


1 Moranga squash

1½ pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 large shrimp for garnish

1 onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, finely minced

Green onions fresh chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 can (10.75 oz) tomato puree

1can (6 0z) tomato paste

1½ cups cream cheese

2 cans condensed milk

1 can of tomato purée

2 tablespoons  Olive Oil

2  tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

Salt and pepper (a taste)

Grated parmesan cheese on top


Wash and scrub the pumpkins well. Cut the top off in a lid shape and remove all the seeds.

Mix 2 spoons of sugar in water enough to fill the pumpkins. Wrap the pumpkin with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet and put it in a preheated 350 degrees. Cook until soft when a toothpick is inserted. Set aside.

Prepare the filling

In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoon olive oil and add the small shrimps. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another saucepan heat olive oil and sauté onions until tender and add the garlic. Add tomato puree, the tomato paste and add half cup of water and cook for 3 minutes in low temperature. Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

With a spoon spread the cream cheese in the pumpkin around the bottom and sides. Pour the shrimp mixture into the pumpkin, filling it completely if possible.

Return the filled pumpkin with the parmesan cheese sprinkled on top to the hot oven (450 F) and cook for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted or golden.

Remove from the oven, then place the pumpkin on a large serving platter or, if it is a small pumpkin serve on the plate. Sprinkle the surface of the shrimp mixture with chopped parsley and green onions. Serve along with rice.


Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork-Stuffed Squash

Makes 4 Servings


4 Shokichi Shiro or Green Squash (You can use any small squash, such as acorn or spaghetti squash)

1 tablespoon peanut oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

1 pound ground pork

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 cup shredded red cabbage

2-3 green onions, sliced


Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut each squash in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Lay them cut-side down in a roasting pan or other baking dish, and add about an inch of water. Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast for 45-60 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork.

While the squash is roasting, heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over moderate heat. Add garlic, shallot and ginger and sauté until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add pork and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula as you go, until it is browned all over. Add hoisin, soy sauce and chili garlic cause and continue cooking until the meat is cooked through. Remove from heat.

To serve, place each squash on a plate, cut-side up. Drizzle each with 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil. Place 1/4 of the pork mixture inside each squash. Sprinkle cabbage and green onions over top to garnish.

bon appétit

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