Many of us choose butternut squash instead of buttercup because of its' easier preparation and larger yield. Butternut, although much wetter, has a small pocket of seeds at the bulbous end and the buttercup is engulfed with seeds inside the entire body. If you choose a 4-5 pound buttercup squash, be prepared to give yourself only about 2 pounds of edible yield. But that's okay when you consider that today, we consume this hard, winter squash only once or twice a year. It is the best, next to Hubbard, to store for months on end. When selecting a buttercup, make sure that it is heavy for its size, the skin is unbroken and above all, the stem looks so dry and brown that it would fall off, which of course won't happen. This dry look of the stem ensures that the "meat" inside is fully ripe and has begun to lose some of its moisture for that perfect squash recipe.
If you find that you would like to enjoy this relative of the turban squash a few times during the winter, and the price is low(which happens to be the lowest during the Holiday season believe it or not) than buy yourself a few of them. Take them home, wad up some newspapers and find the coolest, darkest cupboard. Lay sown a base of the wadded newspapers and place the squash on top. Close the cupboard door and they should keep the entire winter. Our ancestors would keep these deliciously sweet vegetables for months on end in their root cellars, but away from the apples, which tend to give off too much ethylene gas, which in turn softens the buttercups.
Now onward to our preparation. The best way(regardless if some sites tell you to leave the skin on during cooking)is to grab yourself a sturdy, sharp chefs or French knife and cut the squash in half from stem to stern, removing the stem first of course. Once sliced in half, lay the cut side down on a work surface and slice into' half-moons' about an inch thick. Once sliced, then grab yourself a paring or steak knife(even serrated will do) and run it along the seeded center of each' half-moon', cutting away the seeds and stringy pith. At this point, do the same with the rind of each slice, slicing off just enough skin to remove any bitter remnants from the bright orange flesh.
There you have it! It is ready to prepare in any fashion you like. I highly suggest that if there is only a pound or so of sliced flesh, wrap it on a microwave safe plate with film wrap and microwave it for a couple of minutes until soft. The squash will cook in its own moisture perfectly. Remember now, buttercup squash is SUPPOSED to be dry, the drier the better. If microwaving isn't going to work for you, simply place the cut squash in a large kettle or pot, just barely cover with water and boil until softened, which usually only takes about 10 minutes.
When draining in a colander, leave the squash laying in the colander for 10 minutes, or so, to fully drain. I even take the rounded back-side of a large spoon and gently press the cooked flesh against the side of the strainer, releasing even more liquid. Season to your liking and you have the best tasting squash, bar none!
FYI: Did you know that every single part of the squash is edible? From the tender early shoots, to the flowers and seeds. They kept many a colonial family subsisted throughout the winter "in the day".
The Yankee Chef™
..........It's Just That Simple!