Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Because it's just as easy to make more, I often double this recipe so that I'll have plenty of leftovers. The squash halves are easy to reheat in the oven, and on a winter's night they go wonderfully with a hearty soup.

(serves two adults and two children)

 ¼ c dried porcini mushrooms
1 demibaguette (or half of a standard baguette)
olive oil
kosher salt
2 Tbs crumbled dried herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, or herbes de Provence)
3 acorn squash
freshly ground black pepper
brown sugar
1 medium onion
1 lb sweet sausage

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place the porcinis in a small bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water.

3. Remove the ends of the demibaguette and cut the remainder (including the crust) into crouton-sized cubes to yield about 4 cups. Toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a little salt, and the crumbled dried herbs. Spread on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and toast in the oven until crisp, about 6-8 minutes.

4. Halve the acorn squash and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Working with one piece at a time, rub with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with brown sugar (about a tablespoon per squash half). Roast in the oven until just cooked through, about 25-30 minutes.

5. While the squash cooks, remove the porcinis from their soaking liquid (reserving the liquid) and chop coarsely,  Chop the onion.

6. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage, breaking up any clumps. Remove the sausage meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same skillet (adding a little olive oil if the pan seems dry), sauté the onion until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet along with any accumulated juices. Add the toasted baguette cubes, the porcinis, and their soaking liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread cubes absorb all of the liquid, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for a few minutes as the flavors combine.

7. Distribute the filling evenly among the squash halves and return to the oven. Continue to roast until both the squash and the filling are pleasantly hot. Use the broiler at the end, if you like, to crisp the top.

• My method for chopping the baguette is to slice it lengthwise into strips—bisecting the whole into halfs, the halfs into quarters, and the quarters into eighths. Then I cut the strips crosswise into croutons. This way, each crouton has a puff of bread attached to a bit of crust.

• A nice variation is to add a green leafy vegetable (such as kale) to the stuffing. Chop it and sauté it along with the onion.

• As for leftovers, I reheat them in a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes. The outside layers of squash become hot much more quickly than the core of the stuffing, so I leave the squash in the turned-off oven for about 10-15 minutes while the temperatures equalize.

1 comment:

  1. Looking out on the fresh snow -- this sounds great -- Will try to see if I can pull this off -- I am a Kitchen Klutz. Best, David