Comfort Food

Comfort Food

Acorn Squash - Delicious!

 When the Pilgrims reached America’s shores, they were eventually met by Native Americans that shared food with them and taught them how to grow vegetables.  Squash was one of those vegetables.  Prior to that time, Columbus took squash back to Spain from his New World.  For a couple centuries, Conquistadors took South and Central American squash back to places on their routes including Africa and Asia. 

My favorite vintage era home cooks didn’t care about the history of those hard skinned winter squash!  There are very few recipes found in my collection of cookbooks from those times … other than the simple squash split, quartered or cut into rings … and baked with a little cinnamon and brown sugar.  I suspect that the difficulty in cutting winter squash made them far less popular than their summertime counterparts.

In 1976 (I know this because that is the year I got married!) a women’s magazine featured a stuffed squash on its cover.  My new husband proclaimed that he loved acorn squash and he wanted me to make this recipe.  Of course, I did.  I cannot possibly count the number of times I have made it since!  It is a favorite.  I’ll share that recipe with this post.

There may have been a half million home cooks who made that featured recipe that year, but it didn’t make acorn squash any more popular!  Ten years later, the Chicago Tribune featured an article that began to popularize this delicious vegetable.  The vegetarian and healthy eating movements that followed strengthened its growing popularity.  By the time the overly popular trend of roasting vegetables came around, the buy local produce from farmers trend easily provided consumers lots of winter squash … including the Acorn!  Now, many of us enjoy winter squash in our year-round diets.  Butternut and Acorn squash cubes can be found already prepared in the produce section of the supermarket.  Butternut cubes are now sold frozen, and we have no excuses about preparing it.

I’m going to stick to Acorn Squash recipes today but let me tell you than while a Butternut can be peeled in the raw state … an Acorn is much more difficult.  When you want to use Acorn Squash it is easier to bake it whole, then remove the flesh.  All you have to do is cut the squash in half; remove the seeds; place it skin side up in a baking dish with an inch of water in it; and bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Check it a couple times to see if it has softened.

If you want to start with raw cubes of Acorn Squash, the easiest way to peel it is to cut it in rings, then peel each ring.  Because of the ridges down the side of the squash, it is difficult to peel, otherwise.

For my delicious Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash … you want to use the baking method.

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

This recipe is enough for 4 small to medium sized squash.  Remove the stem top of each squash.  Remove the seeds and stringy membrane from each squash.  Place the squash skin side up in a baking dish with 1 inch of water in it.  Lay the ‘lids’ (tops you cut off) in the water, too.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.  The squash will have softened.  Remove the dish from the oven; check to see if the squash is done; turn the squash right side up and let them cool on a wire rack or on a towel on the counter top.  When the squash is cool, you will use a spoon and remove the flesh to a mixing bowl.

For the stuffing, fry 1 pound of crumbled breakfast sausage.  When the sausage cools, add it to the squash.  Add the following:

2 Tablespoons of dried minced onion
¼ cup of brown sugar
½ teaspoon of powdered sage or poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 large egg
2 slices of bread, crumbled
½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all these ingredients together and stuff the squash.  Return to the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the stuffing is firm.  You can add a little more shredded cheese to the top of each one … replace the lids and serve.

Yes, these take awhile to prepare but they are impressive and delicious!

I’m sharing this article as part of my 2020 Vintage Vegetable project.  If you’d like to see similar articles, just click through the menu tab.  I’ll also be sharing with a couple blog parties, so check the list on my sidebar.

Stay safe and enjoy!

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