You can easily tailor this recipe to your own tastes. Although I used Hot Italian Turkey Sausage to give the dish some "spice," you can use a mild sausage (chicken, beef, or pork), or even ground beef. Leave out the meat and make it a Vegan entree. You can also choose from a variety of rices, or perhaps some Quinoa. The possibilities are almost endless!
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Step 1: INGREDIENTS (2 SERVINGS)
- 1 Acorn Squash (I used a medium-size squash, but my recipe created enough stuffing to fill both halves of a large one).
- 1 TBS Olive Oil (I like Bertolli's Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil because it withstands a fairly high temperature).
- 3 TBS Unsalted Butter
- 2 Links Hot Italian Sausage (I like Jenny-o's brand), or a meat of your preference (or no meat at all)!
- 1 cup cooked Rice (I used some left-over wild and brown rice that had been cooked with saffron)
- 1/4 medium Red Onion, diced
- 2 TBS Granny Smith Green Apple, cored, peeled, diced
- 1 TBS SUN-MAID dried Black Currants
- 1 TBS Pecan pieces
- 1 tsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
- 1/4 tsp each, dried Basil, Oregano & Thyme
Step 2: PREPARE THE SQUASH
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
- Melt 1 TBS unsalted butter
- Split Squash in half, scoop out seeds and *place both halves on a small foil-covered cookie sheet, open side up.
- Brush with melted butter and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until just fork tender.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool a bit while you prepare the stuffing (see Step 3)
- Drop (reduce) oven temperature to 375 degrees F
*In order to position the squash halves on the cookie sheet and keep them as level as possible, I very carefully trimmed some of the skin off of their bottom sides (no pun intended). Be careful not to cut through the squash!
Step 3: PREPARE THE STUFFING, FILL & BAKE SQUASH
*While is squash was baking, prep the ingredients that you will use in the stuffing:
- Core, peel, and dice the green apple, chop the pecans if using whole, and slice and dice the red onion.
- Remove the casings from the sausage
- Mix together the S&P and herbs and set aside.
- Add 1 TBS cooking oil to a cast iron pan or heavy non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the sausage to the hot pan; crumble and cook until no longer pink (I still like to use my old-fashioned potato masher to crumble or break-up ground meats when browning them). Set aside. Reduce pan heat to Medium.
- Add 1 TBS unsalted butter to the hot pan and stir-fry onion until translucent (just a minute or two; the pan is hot and the onion will brown quickly).
- Add the sausage back to the pan; stir in the apples, currants, onions, pecans, herbs & spices. Remove pan from heat.
- Fill the squash halves with the stuffing; press down and mound the stuffing.
- Drizzle with the final TBS of unsalted butter.
- Bake the stuffed Acorn Squash halves in the 375 degree F oven for approx. 20 to 25 minutes, or until fork-tender.
*As you can see, I like to accumulate all of the ingredients that I am going to use in any one stage of cooking and keep them handy so that I can quickly add them to the pan or oven..
Step 4: TIME TO EAT . . .
Baked Acorn Squash stuffed with spicy Hot Italian Sausage . . .a nice Basil, Mozzarella, Red Onion &Tomato salad and a sprig of fresh Basil to freshen the air. Who could ask for more?
(I have calculated the nutrition for this recipe to the best of my ability using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Analyzer - click on the image to enlarge)