adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Vegetarian Inspiration – Stuffed Acorn Squash

Last week we had our dear friends Marq and Dawn over for dinner.  They are both vegetarians so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe from The Kitchn that I have been eyeing:  Stuffed Acorn Squash.  Little did I know that Marq does not actually like acorn squash.  When he admitted this to me I told him, "too bad, I already bought them so now you have to eat them."  You can say that sort of thing to your husband's best friend and he has to say, "OK, I'll eat it." The original recipe calls for bacon, which is one of The Hub's favorite things, but it's not so popular with vegetarians.  So I made one squash with bacon for us omnivores and substituted toasted pecans in the second squash for Marq and Dawn. The squash turned out to be delicious (Marq ate the whole thing and says he is a convert!) and actually provided inspiration for a stuffing that I'm going to be making for Thanksgiving.  Dawn rounded out our meal with a delicious salad of mixed greens, blue cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds with homemade pomegranate dressing!  Worried that Marq might be starving from only eating a salad, she also made a decadent Raspberry-Cranberry-Orange Cheesecake.  Dawn is becoming quite the little baker these days, much to my delight. You can get the original Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe here, or just read below for the recipe which includes my interpretation and notes.  You might want to try this out for any vegetarians you have coming to Thanksgiving!

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Bread, Cheese, and Bacon adapted from The Kitchn; serves two 2 slices bacon, or 1/3 cup pecans 1 small shallot, sliced thin 1 clove garlic, minced 2 teaspoons chopped sage (about 3 to 4 leaves) 1 1/2 cups of bread cubes (from a crusty loaf or baguette, cut into dice-sized pieces) 3/4 cup mixed shredded cheeses (I used 1/4 c. shredded mexican blend, 1/4 c. fresh shredded parmesan and 1/4 shredded cheddar. This would be a great time to use up little odds and ends) 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream 1 medium acorn squash, sliced lengthwise and seeded (*see note at bottom) olive oil salt and pepper Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove, crumble, and set aside. In the same pan, cook the shallot until beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook just until fragrant, about one minute (don't burn the garlic). If making the vegetarian version, omit bacon and cook the shallot mixture first with olive oil.  Then toast the pecans in the same pan. In a medium bowl, combine the shallot mixture, bread cubes, cheeses, and bacon/pecans. Pour in the cream and stir until everything is moistened. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Rub a drizzle of olive oil over the squash, coating the sliced edges and the cavity. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Divide the stuffing between the halves, packing it in so that the squash can still lie flat when turned upside-down. Carefully place the squash halves upside-down in a baking dish. Bake for about one hour, until the flesh of the squash can be easily pierced with a knife. If the juices and cheeses start to burn after 30 or 45 minutes, add a few tablespoons of water to the dish. Once the squashes are cooked, use a spatula (or two) to flip them over. Serve as is or slice down the middle. *Note:  The size of the seed pocket is different with each squash. You can scoop out a little extra flesh to make room for all of the stuffing if needed.  Also, if you want an even stuffing-to-squash ratio, I would recommend scooping out some flesh. Enjoy!

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