Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is all around us; the changing leaves, cool air and endless amounts of pumpkins everywhere.  With fall comes many different types and varieties of food.  I love looking through the produce section and seeing all the different varieties of pumpkins, squash and various other gords.  There are squash and gords of all different shapes, sizes and colors.  Not only do these things scream fall and make good décor, but the options for recipes are endless.  Roasted, sautéed, boiled, steamed, soup; the options go on and on.
Squash is such a simple item to work with, the flavor of the squash alone is delicious and really doesn't require a lot of extras to get the full flavor.  I've enjoyed my fare share of plain ol' roasted squash with a touch of salt and pepper and I've been beyond satisfied.  But there are times where I do like to add a little more to really enhance the flavor and presentation of a dish.  So when I was at the store recently I stocked up on a few varieties of squash and my intentions were to jazz them up. 

With this recipe I still wanted the flavor of the squash to shine.  So I wanted to stuff it with delicious and bold flavors that worked well together as well as complimented the flavor of the squash.  I decided to roast the squash with a touch of butter and brown sugar.  For the base I decided to use rice; something starchy with a mild flavor and just the right texture.  I added in some reconstituted dried cranberries, sharp white cheddar, sautéed apples and onions, and pecans.  All flavors that were bold, different but complimented one another beautifully.

This stuffed squash we amazing; full of flavor and filling.  The squash is buttery and slightly sweet and works well with the tart cranberries, sweet apples, sharp tangy cheese, and crunchy pecans.  This could easily be the main course but we enjoyed it as a side with spicy pumpkin spice chicken with tangy apple gravy; a meal that screamed fall. 
This squash encompasses the flavors of fall.  The flavors in the stuffing are ingredients that are more than likely seen at your Thanksgiving meal.  If you're looking for a side to make for Thanksgiving that's just a little different then make this delicious stuffed acorn squash to serve with your turkey.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 Acorn squash
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Small sweet onion, finely chopped
1 Small Honeycrisp apple
1/4 Cup dried cranberries
1/4 Cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup sharp white cheddar, cut into small cubes
1/2 Cup uncooked rice
Pinch of white pepper
salt, to taste


Preheat oven to 400.

Cut the acorn squash lengthwise and remove the seeds.  Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet and rub with half a tablespoon of butter.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and place in the preheated oven.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is fork tender.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to package instructions.

Place cranberries in 1/2 cup of water and allow to soak.  Set aside.

Peel and core the apple and chop into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place the remaining butter in a small sauté pan and place over medium-low heat.  Add the pecans, apples and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. 

Drain the excess liquid from the cranberries.  Combine the rice, cranberries, and apple mixture and stir to combine.  Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine.  Add the cheese and stir to incorporate.  Taste, adjust seasonings if needed.

Divide the rice filling evenly between the two halves.  Top with extra cheese, if desired.  Return to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven, top with fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original

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