It’s harvest time, which means there is a bounty of squash in the grocery stores and at farmstands — and that makes me happy.
Hard to believe at one point in my life I turned my nose up to these garden delights, but I confess it was probably the texture on a young lad’s tongue, or maybe it was just not properly cooked. (Sorry, Mom.)
Now? I can’t get enough.
So when I saw my wife had picked up an acorn squash, I got excited for one of my favorite comfort foods — stuffed acorn squash.
It’s a rather simple dish.
You start by cutting the squash in half and getting rid of the seeds. We then line a cookie sheet with foil and create little acorn squash boats out of foil, so they’ll stand up on the cookie sheet. We put generous portions of butter and brown sugar inside the scooped-out squash and put them in the oven at 350°F for an hour. (This will fill your kitchen with the heavenly scents of autumn. No need for a Yankee Candle in our house.)
During that hour, we prepare the stuffing. (It doesn’t take the whole hour, so you’ll have time to sip wine while you catch up on the day’s Island news in The Minute.)
For the stuffing you’ll need 2 pounds of ground beef, a large Vidalia onion, any variety of your favorite apple, diced, and a box of Stove Top stuffing. (I used Stove Top because it’s already seasoned, and adds to the flavor.) You’ll want to chop the onions and sauté them in a pan. Remove them and then brown the ground beef, drain it, and mix in the cooked onions, the apple, the Stove Top stuffing, and about 1 cup of water. Simmer for about 5 more minutes until the apples are tender and the stuffing mixture is softened by absorbing that water.
By the way, this is more than enough to stuff one acorn squash. We put the rest in the freezer for the next time we want this scrumptious taste of autumn, or you can do multiple squashes if there are more mouths to feed.
After an hour, take the squash out of the oven. Using a spoon, pull the squash from the walls and mix in the liquid that’s formed in the cavity. Then fill it with the stuffing until it’s heaped over the top. Put some mozzarella cheese on top, and put it under the broiler for a few minutes until it’s melted and there’s a hint of browning.
Now I can’t wait to have some fun with that butternut squash.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash, halved
2 pounds of ground beef, browned
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 large apple, diced
1 package Stove Top stuffing mix
1 cup water