The sweet dumpling squash is one of the smallest of winter squashes, usually only a few inches in diameter and less than half a pound in weight. When ripe, they have an attractively variegated skin in shades of yellow and green or yellow and orange. They cook up lighter and dryer than most winter squash and have an unusually mild, sweet delicate flavor that's suited for almost any cooking method.
Baked or Roasted
The simplest way to cook any squash is to bake it in your oven. Cut around the stem of your sweet dumpling and remove the top. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, and bake the cleaned squash until tender. Make a light meal by stuffing sweet dumplings with a meat- or grain-based filling and baking until the filling is fully cooked. To use the squash as a side dish, dip it in boiling water for 1 minute, then into ice water. It will peel easily. Quarter or slice the peeled squash and roast it with maple or brown sugar glaze.
The sweet and delicate flavor of sweet dumpling squash makes it especially good for soup. Dice a peeled sweet dumpling and simmer it in vegetable or chicken broth, then puree it with an immersion blender. Flavor your soup with minced fresh ginger, maple syrup, cumin or a pinch of saffron. Make it richer by adding cream just before serving. Garnish the soup with toasted pumpkin or squash seeds, walnuts or pecans, a slice of roasted apple or a sprinkling of caramelized onions.
Steamed or Boiled
Once peeled, sweet dumpling has a relatively soft flesh and is easier to cut than many other squashes. You can dice it with minimal effort and simmer the pieces like any other side vegetable. You can serve the colorful pieces intact or mash them with a small amount of cream or butter and a pinch of nutmeg. Alternatively, you can steam diced or sliced sweet dumpling. This minimizes nutrient loss and preserves the pure, sweet flavor of the squash itself.
Sauteing sweet dumpling squash, like roasting it, caramelizes its naturally occurring sugars. This gives it a richer, deeper flavor that goes well with autumnal dishes such as pot roast, beef stew or roasted turkey. Dice or slice a peeled sweet dumpling and saute the pieces over moderate heat until they are tender and becoming soft at the edges. Turn up the heat and shake the pan frequently to prevent the squash from sticking. Continue to cook the squash pieces until they are well browned, and serve as a side dish with your meal.