I recently found this crave-worthy recipe on a website called The Pretend Baker. I can’t comment on the legitimacy or lack thereof of her baking skills, but she certainly put together at least one yummy recipe that I am delighted to share. This baked acorn squash is stuffed with apple, mushroom and sausage, and it is truly delicious. We ate it as a main course, but it could also make a great side dish for Thanksgiving. I think it could be adapted easily to suit your own tastes, but here is the original recipe:
2 medium acorn squashes
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil (I used butter)
1 lb. salt and pepper pork sausage ( I have no idea what this is or how to find it. I substituted Jenny O turkey breakfast sausage and thought it was great)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large stalks of celery, diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
½ lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced small ( I could not find cremini mushrooms, so I used a package of exotic mixed mushrooms. Delish)
1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp pf fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbsp. fresh sage, minced
1 large beaten egg (I had no eggs in the house and therefore, did not add this ingredient. The author of the recipe noted that she has made it with and without the egg, but thinks the eggs helps the stuffing to bind better)
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup shredded cheese (The author recommended white cheddar, Gruyere or mozzarella. I purchased a bag of mixed “easy melt” cheddar and it was great. I did not wish to blow my budget on Gruyere trying out at new recipe.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise. A small machete should do the trick nicely. Otherwise use a big knife wielded by a strong man. Remove the seeds and other innards. Place the halves on a baking pan or in a shallow dish and cook for about 30 – 45 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork, or the tip of your machete. Remove from the oven and flip over, allowing the squash to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, brown the sausage over medium high heat. Remove sausage to a plate. Add 1 tbsp. of butter to the pan along with apple, onion and celery. Add a pinch of salt.
When softened, after about 5 minutes, add the garlic and herbs and saute for about 30 seconds. Remove mixture to another bowl. Add remaining butter and mushrooms and cook until brown and buttery, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove flesh from squash, leaving enough inside for stability.
Add squash to pan along with the apple mixture, sausage and mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. If you want to add the beaten egg, now’s the time.
Fill the squash halves with the yummy mixture. Top with shredded cheese (I added lots!)
Bake 15 -20 minutes until hot and bubbling. The author recommends letting it cool for 10 minutes, but we found it cooled off a little too much in that amount of time. Just use your best judgment and don’t burn your tongue!
The leftovers keep well overnight. We stored two uncooked and without cheese and added it the next night, so the two of us got two main course meals out of this recipe.
As you can see, myriad variations are possible, so switch it up if you like. I will not report you to the squash police. Enjoy the symphony of autumn flavors and you watch the falling leaves, with a tasty glass of wine. Any wine you typically enjoy with Thanksgiving recipes will work here.
Ah, the best time of year!
“Cooking is one of the strongest ceremonies for life. When recipes are put together, the kitchen is a chemical laboratory involving air, fire, water and the earth. This is what gives value to humans and elevates their spiritual qualities. If you take a frozen box and stick it in the microwave, you become connected to the factory.”
“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain