One thing that I have grown to love is squash. Butternut squash is the star of the squash family but we mustn't forget about its shorter cousin, acorn squash. My mom would make this dish with nuts and spices filling the hollowed out acorn. Granted, at the time, I really only liked the brown sugar smothered parts of the squash and not the squash itself. Acorn squash also make a lovely addition to a Thanksgiving centerpiece, plain or painted.
For our purposes though, we'll eat them. The acorn squash are sliced open so their seeds can be scraped out, much like a pumpkin. I also cut out some of the squash to make more room for the nut mixture. I recommend slicing off a small piece of the bottom of the squash so they sit flat. This is not something I did but regret. In a 350 degree oven, the hollowed vegetables are lightly drizzled with oil and placed face down on a baking sheet to roast. This takes about 20-30 minutes which is plenty of time to make the stuffing.
In a small bowl, oats, raisins, brown sugar, pecans and all-spice are mixed together. You can really make whatever combination you want for the stuffing. I basically made some loaded oatmeal. Once the squash is roasted, they are each stuffed with as much goodness as possible and then topped with a slice of butter. It's just enough butter to drench the brown sugar and oats but not enough to negate the healthy factor of squash.
The acorn squash are now returned, upright in a ramekin dish or upright on the baking dish, to complete cooking. I found another 15 minutes in the oven did the trick. These guys will be hot hot hot when you take them out of the oven so allow to cool for a few minutes before serving to guests (or yourself).
- 2 medium acorn squashes
- Olive oil
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of uncooked oats
- 1/2 cup of pecans (or desired nut)
- 1/4 cup of raisins
- Dash of all-spice (or cinnamon or cloves etc.)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the tops off the acorn squashes, not quite in half but enough to expose part of the hollow center. Also cut a small portion off the narrow bottom of the squash so they can stand flat.
- Using a spoon, remove the seeds and threads of the squash. We want there to be enough room to add the oat-nut mixture later.
- Brush the exposed areas of the squash with olive oil before placing face down on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Roast the squash for 20-30 minutes until the insides looks brighter and the outside looks dark and oiled.
- Combine the brown sugar, oats, nuts, raisins and spices in a bowl. Mix well so you get a little bit of everything in each bite.
- Once the squash is ready, remove from the oven and place face up in the ramekin dishes (or on the parchment). Stuff with the nut mixture.
- If using the ramekins, place them back on the baking sheet for cooking.
- Top with 1/2 a teaspoon (normal slice) of butter.
- Place the dishes/squash back in the oven and allow to finish cooking for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before digging in.