Even though I made this dish almost 3 weeks ago, I thought I should post it right away because at least where I live, you can still buy acorn squash. My husband gave me a strange look when I set this dish on the table, but he really liked it after giving it a try. To me this is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, and if you omit the sausage and use vegetable broth it is a great vegan entree. This would be a good dish for vegan or vegetarians at a Christmas dinner because it seems special, but it's easy enough to make on a weeknight too.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash cut in half and seeds removed (you can save the seeds and bake them)
- 1/2 loaf of sandwich bread white or wheat, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 lb. ground turkey or sausage (leave out for a vegan meal)
- 1tsp. salt
- ground pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon dried sage plus 1 tsp. dried sage
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable broth or poultry broth
1. preheat oven to 350 F. Place acorn squash cut sides down on cookie sheet and bake for 1/2 hour. Set aside while preparing stuffing.
2. Meanwhile, brown turkey in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tsp. ground sage, 1tsp. salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste. If you are using sausage you can omit the salt and pepper. Do not drain fat from browned meat.
3. In a large bowl add bread, celery, onions, dried sage, cranberries, broth, remaining oil, and browned meat with fat. Mix together until the bread has soaked up the broth. You are looking for broth to come out of the bread when squeezed, but not so much broth that there are puddles in the bottom of the bowl. Think of a saturated sponge. You can now taste the stuffing mixture for seasoning and add salt, pepper, or more sage if needed.
4. Stuff mixture into prebaked acorn squash halves. I usually have extra stuffing which I bake in a small casserole dish. You could omit the acorn squash completely and bake all the stuffing in a casserole dish. The squash and stuffing can be wrapped at this point and held in the refrigerator overnight.
5. Bake stuffed squash for 1 hour. When you eat this pull some of the squash out with the stuffing to enjoy the sweetness of the squash and the savory stuffing.