It’s winter squash season, y’all! One of my favorite things to do with a squash (delicata, acorn, kubocha, etc) is to stuff it. Instead of serving the squash as a side dish, it’s featured as the main course along with something savory. The blending of sweet squash and rich meat (or mushroom/other protein something) is really delicious and can be served up looking quite fancy and impressive. I went low-frills for this particular meal, but you can really dress up a stuffed squash dish, making it the perfect choice for entertaining the in-laws.
Stuffed squash isn’t exactly how it sounds…. you generally don’t actually cook the “stuffing” inside the squash. The squash is usually baked on its own and the stuffing added right at the end. This is how i made THIS meal of stuffed squash: get inspired and try your own. Fillings could be meaty, mushroomy, light or decadent, topped with cheese or gravy, dressed up or served rustic style. Have fun!
1. Choose a nice squash. I used locally grown Delicata from Gathering Together Farm. Their delicata squashes are particularly sweet. The size of a delicata is nice: half makes a perfect serving for one. Choose a squash that will be the right size to be halve and serve two people. You can cut it long ways or short ways, depending on your presentation. Cutting short ways makes for a beautiful plate, but long ways is easier to cut and eat.
2. Bake your squash. Halve, remove seeds (save for roasting, or discard – don’t save for seed as the squash was most likely grown near other types of squash and won’t be true), salt and place on a buttered baking sheet, upside down. Bake on 400 for about 30 minutes, or until soft.
3. Cook your filling. While the squash bakes, saute up something delicious. I cooked up some local ground lamb (that was REALLY fatty), removed as much of the grease as i could, then tossed in a chopped onion, some garlic and a green pepper. Cook until the meat is done and the veggies are soft.
4. You can either remove the squash from the oven, plate it and stuff OR turn it over in the oven, stuff it, sprinkle with cheese and put back in a few minutes for the cheese to melt and brown. Your preference! I plated and stuffed because i didn’t feel like dropping filling all over my oven.
That’s it! Served with a side of wilted greens, easily cut with a knife for bites of equally balanced squash and filling. Fist pumps all around! Does it get more autumnal than this? Maybe serve it with a glass of locally pressed cider for a fall feast!
What’s your favorite filling for stuffed squash?