Friday, 25 November 2016

Acorn Squash with Sausage Stuffing

This is a simple little dish - really not too much in there - but it was very tasty and satisfying nevertheless. Easy to make, although the long baking time for the squash does make it a little slow.

Anyone who can count, even with the aid of fingers, will soon note I used 3 little Gill's Golden Pippin acorn squash. They really are little though, and for most other varieties the quantity of stuffing made by this will be sufficient for 2 squash, or perhaps if you had a particularly large specimen you could mound it all into just one. I don't think I recommend that though. You'd have to bake them longer, and cut them into serving portions, because half this recipe is going to be too much for almost everybody. Two halves of the little Golden Pippins were enough for us, and if there had been much else on the plate 1 would have sufficed.

When you make the poultry seasoning - which you should do before you start this recipe, along with cubing the bread - omit the salt. Most sausage is pretty salty, and should supply enough. You can taste the mixture before you put it into the squash shells, and add a little more at that point if you think it needs it. If you can't get a plain/breakfast type sausage, then you may need to adjust the seasonings to the sausage you have. If I could only have gotten Italian sausage for instance, I would have replaced the poultry seasoning with some ground fennel seed, hot pepper flakes, and oregano.

If you like the idea and think you can squeeze it in, a cored, chopped apple added to the pan with the garlic may be a good addition. 

3 to 6 servings
1 hour 45 minutes - 30 minutes prep time

Acorn Squash with Sausage Stuffing

2 or 3 acorn squash - see notes above
- approximate total of 750 grams (1 1/2 pounds)
a little mild vegetable oil for roasting them, etc
1 stalk celery
1 medium onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
300 grams (10 ounces) plain raw sausage
2 cups finely diced stale bread
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, salt omitted

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half, and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Rub the cut sides lightly with oil, and bake them for 1 hour until just tender.

Meanwhile, wash, trim, and chop the celery. Peel and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Chop or crumble the sausage, and begin to cook it to brown the crumbles. As soon as it produces a little fat, add the celery and onion - if your sausage is very lean, it may be necessary to add a little oil to get things going.

Cook the sausage, celery, and onion until the sausage is lightly browned through and the celery and onion are soft; stir regularly. Add the garlic and cook a minute or two more. Add the finely diced bread cubes and poultry seasoning, and mix them gently in; cook, stirring carefully for another few minutes until the crumbs are mostly fairly dry and toasted in spots. Set the pan aside to cool somewhat until the squash is ready.

Remove the cooked squash from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F. Gently scoop the cooked flesh from the shells of the squash onto a plate, leaving the squash shells whole and as unbroken as possible. Mash the squash with a fork. Blend the squash in with the pan of sausage and crumbs, etc. I found it best to use a cutting a folding motion for this. When everything is well and evenly amalgamated, divide the filling into sections equalling the number of squash shells you have. Fill the squash shells with the sausage mixture, mounding it up as necessary. Return the squash to the oven (in the original baking pan) and bake for another half an hour until lightly brown and crispy on top, and very hot through.

Last year at this time I made Beets à la Marmalade.

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