A High Nutrition Meal Your Family will love!
Full of fiber, anti-oxidants and protein, this wonderful recipe is adaptable to so many of the diverse diets styles today. Acorn Squash is my favorite for stuffing for a number of reasons: the flesh of the squash is dense but not dry, it is sweet and nutty and sufficiently thick to make it ideal for handling and stuffing, not so delicate that it is hard to work. The seeds of an acorn squash are easy to remove, it pairs well with many flavors and is interesting in appearance to hungry eyes.
I have made this recipe “vegetarian” many times, using different stuffing elements
depending on diner’s restrictions and on what’s available in the pantry. It has never failed to be delicious and to please target eaters, guests and family members alike.
This recipe has been made with success with practically every kind of sausage known to man, so whatever you decide to use, from turkey to deer sausage, as long as the flavors are your palate favorites, you’ll make this a go-to entrée in your meal plans. This is a great make ahead recipe and is a terrific left-over!
Ingredients Serves 4 (doubles easily for 8)
- Two Acorn Squash, precook (See #1) (Choose dull green, heavy for its size)
- 1/2 cups water (for pre-cooking)
- 2 tsp. each, melted butter, evoo, pure maple syrup + (See #2)
- 1 tsp. each butter and evoo (for skillet) (See #3)
- 1 medium yellow onion, rough medium chop
- 1-1/2 cups sausage,
- my pick: sage ground breakfast sausage, part turkey/part pork
- your pick: if link is used remove from casing and separate into ground meat like texture. Note: here you may use vegetable sausage, or ground garbanzo and/or black beans, finely chopped cashews or almonds, brown rice, lentils, whatever you like for protein. The key is that this recipe needs to have sausage texture, spices and flavors)
- 1-1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (store bought or make your own from garlic croutons in a food processor)
- 1 tsp. each kosher salt and fresh black pepper
- 1/2 cups grated parmesan*
- 1/4 cups crumbled manchego, feta or other white cheese*
- 2 Tblsp. chopped flat leaf parsley*
- Wash and dry squash. Split in half and remove seeds. Turn flesh side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with baking spray, add 1/2 cups water, cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes in a 350° F oven. Test with a fork to make sure it is tender, if not bake a little longer. Remove, keep covered, set aside.
- Melt butter, evoo and maple syrup together. Set aside.
- Melt 1 tsp. butter with 1 tsp. evoo (extra virgin olive oil) in a heavy skillet, add chopped onion and sauté for two minutes, add sausage ingredients and cook, stirring, until sausage is cooked (or heated through), add the bread crumbs, seasonings and stir to incorporate. *if using grated parmesan, add now. Heat through.
- Brush the insides of squash with melted butter, oil and maple syrup mixture.
- Stuff squash with sausage mixture, packing but not too tight, to fill cavity adding in a mound atop, about 1 cup per squash half.
- If crumbled cheese is used, sprinkle now atop stuffed squash halves*
- Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes to heat through.
- Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.*
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