|Young, tender, yellow summer squash, prepared simple and basic. Sweet Vidalia onion and bell pepper is first sauteed in bacon drippings and butter, the squash is added, and slowly smothered down.|
Smothered Summer Squash and OnionsYellow squash is plentiful in our Southern summers and this is pretty much my top favorite way to enjoy it. It's the same basic way many of our other favorite squash recipes begin anyway, from creamed squash to squash dressing and casseroles, though it sure stands pretty well all on its own too.
I start mine off with a little bit of bacon drippings and butter, always some sweet Vidalia onion and sometimes a little sweet bell pepper, then let it all simmer covered, over low heat, until tender. I finish it with just a little more butter, some simple seasonings and when I have them, some fresh garden herbs are nice too.
The key is not to let the squash boil, but to allow it to low simmer, so that it still retains its shape and color and the flavor of the squash shines through. If you prefer it more stewed down, cook it longer, mashing some of the squash as you occasionally stir it.
If you don't save bacon drippings, you should! There are many ways to use the drippings to add a load of natural flavor when you're cooking. If you have to cook off some bacon to get some drippings though, chop it up and leave it in the skillet along with the drippings to smother down with the squash, or remove the cooked bacon and add it at the end to the finished dish. Either way, you just can't go wrong adding in some bacon, though you can certainly just increase the butter too.
While you can't beat the added boost of flavor provided by butter and bacon drippings, you may certainly lighten this classic dish up by using olive oil for sauteing and substitute chicken broth for cooking instead. I hope that you'll try it my way at least once though.
Here's how to make it.
Recipe: Smothered Summer Squash and Onions©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 20 min | Yield: About 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings
- 3 tablespoons of salted butter, divided, or to taste
- 1 cup of chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
- 1/2 cup of chopped sweet green bell pepper, optional
- 2 pounds of yellow summer squash, chopped or halved and sliced
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- Kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
- Chopped fresh herbs, optional, to taste
Melt the bacon fat and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large lidded pot or deep skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes until tender. Add the chopped squash and sugar, toss to coat, cover and cook over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender, stirring several times.
Taste, season as needed with salt, black pepper and Cajun seasonings. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and toss in fresh herbs if using. Stir and serve in small bowls, along with some of the simmering liquid.
Cook's Notes: For 2 pounds of squash you'll need about 4 to 6 medium sized squash or about 5 cups chopped. May also use a mixture of yellow and zucchini squash if you like. If you have a little V-8 juice in the house, add in about 1/4 cup with the squash and seasonings. If using dried herbs add those in earlier. Pass freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the table. May also use this recipe for pattypan squash; just cook it a little longer.
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©Deep South Dish
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