A few weeks ago Granny got some Cushaw squash and she gave one to me. I said how do you cook it? She said the gentleman she got them from told her his Grandma boiled it with brown sugar.
I set it on my kitchen counter and wished I had a real recipe to use. The Deer Hunter mentioned the cushaw to his friends at work and they said they'd heard of curshaws but had never heard of a cushaw. The Deer Hunter's friend's method of cooking their "curshaws" was similar to what Granny had been told.
Deciding I was going to cook that thing no matter what it was called I consulted my Appalachian Home Cooking book written by Mark F. Sohn. The first thing I noticed- Sohn calls it a Cushaw-which is apparently the correct name for the squash.
Sohn gives this short description of his recipe Cushaw Casserole:
Here, the squash is sweetened with brown sugar, but mountain cooks also use other sweeteners including sorghum syrup, molasses, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar twin or even granulated sugar.
- 4 pounds fresh cushaw squash
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
*Halve the cushaw-remove the seeds-and cut the squash into small cubes. Place cubes in a stock pot and cover with water. Cook cubes until they are soft about 30 minutes. Drain the cubes and allow them to cool.
*After the cubes are cooled remove the skin from them and lay them in a baking dish. Mash the cubed squash with a fork and sprinkle the brown sugar and salt on top. (I only had about 2 pounds of cushaw so I didn't use as much brown sugar or salt as the recipe called for-I'm not sure I even used half the amount called for-I just kind of eyeballed it)
*Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until the sugar is completely melted.
Still curious about the variations of the name of the squash I looked in my Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English. The Dictionary has an entry for the word Cushaw-meaning a large crooked neck squash.
Interesting to think of how the word cushaw was corrupted or changed to curshaw in the eastern part of Cherokee county above Andrews.
The verdict on the squash-it's delicious no matter what you call it! Be sure to try Sohn's recipe if you get a chance. So easy and simple-yet so very tasty.