While we are on the topic of winter squash, let’s discuss how good acorn squash is. The cousin of butternut, acorn squash is of a similar flavor, though perhaps a bit more nutty (appropriately given its name). I often prefer to use butternut squash as it is easier to peel and goes a bit further (if you are lucky you can go to the effort of peeling and chopping one squash for multiple recipes), but when roasting squash in the oven, acorn squash is my go to. It is easy to cook, filling, healthy, and waiting to be brought to life by the other flavors in your meal.
Stuffed acorn squash is my favorite recipe for acorn squash. In terms of baking time, you’ll need about an hour and a half, but the hands on time is only about half an hour. This recipe is also a great one for improvising based on what’s in your cabinet. The version below is probably our favorite variation, but we’ve been known to substitute the pork sausage for chicken, cut the mushrooms, and/or add nuts, dried cranberries, or garlic. Make it your own!
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted from several recipes
1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 T butter
1/4 t garlic seasoning
1/4 t ground sage
1/4 c mushrooms, sliced
1 T butter
Splash Worcestershire sauce
Splash white wine
1/3 lb spicy Italian pork sausage
1/2 small onion, diced small
1 celery rib, diced small
1 apple, cored and diced small
1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
1/2 t sage
salt and pepper
1-2 T fresh parsley, minced
Preheat oven to 400°.
Place acorn squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub each half with butter until well coated. Sprinkle both halves with garlic seasoning and ground sage. Bake squash for one hour.
While squash bakes, melt butter in medium cast iron skillet. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender. Add splash of Worcestershire sauce and cook until sauce nearly evaporates. Add splash of white wine and again cook until sauce nearly evaporates. Remove mushrooms from pan and place in medium size bowl.
Add pork sausage to cast iron skillet you used to cook the mushrooms. Cook until crumbled and brown. Remove from skillet and add to bowl containing mushrooms.
Add celery and apple to the same cast iron skillet and cook until browned. Remove from skillet and add to bowl containing mushrooms and sausage.
Allow mushrooms, pork, celery, and apple to cool to room temperature before adding breadcrumbs, sage, salt and pepper to taste, egg, and parsley. Refrigerate until squash is done baking.
When squash is baked, use a spoon to stuff the cavity of the squash with the sausage mixture. You will likely need to both press the sausage mixture into the cavity and pile it on top of the squash.
Return squash to oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes until top is slightly browned. Remove from oven and serve immediately.