By Chef Rich Baringer,
I see acorn squash as sort of the black sheep of the winter squash family. Butternut is sweeter. Delicata is less fibrous. Kabocha and pumpkins make better pies. But what acorn squash has going for it is its shape — it’s a perfect receptacle for all sorts of things that go great with the tender flesh of the squash itself.
This recipe uses the squash as a vessel for a sweet and flavorful filling. It’s a simple recipe—not a whole lot of prep needed—and it can be made ahead of time and then heated up in time for dinner. Serve half a squash per person as a main dish or you can scoop it out and use it as a side dish. However you serve it, you’ll love these flavors that really taste like fall.
Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side
You can play with the ingredients to fit what you have on hand. For example, I’ve made this with smoked sausage, which really complements the sweetness of the other ingredients.
2 acorn squashes, halved and seeds removed
½ lb pork sausage, removed from casing
½ cup onion, minced
½ cup celery, minced
1 small apple, cored and diced fine
2 cups white rice, cooked (you can use brown, too)
¼ cup raisins
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp butter, melted
Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place squash, cut side down, in a shallow baking dish. Add about ½ inch of water. Bake for 30 mins. or until squash can be easily pierced with a paring knife. Remove squash and pour out the water, then return squash to baking dish, cut side up. Let cool if serving at a later time.
- Meanwhile, cook sausage, onion and celery in a medium skillet over medium heat until sausage is lightly browned and veggies are softened. Drain or use a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Combine rest of ingredients except butter, salt and pepper. Let cool if serving at a later time.
- Brush cut side of squash with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill evenly with the stuffing.
- If serving soon, cover baking dish with foil and return to 350°F oven until heated through and very tender, about 30-40 min. If serving later, cover baking dish with foil and refrigerate. Then preheat oven to 350°F and bake, covered, until heated through and very tender, about 45-50 min.
Rich Baringer is chef/owner of Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service. Rich grew up in Haycock Township and has lived (and eaten) in Bucks County his whole life. He now lives in Blooming Glen Village with his wife, Mary Beth, his son Jake, and their new pup, Teddy. Rich graduated from the Culinary Business Academy in Atlanta, is a member of the U.S. Personal Chef Association and owns Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service. For more information about Dinner’s Done PCS, contact Rich at 215.804.6438, firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his website.