In keeping with our vegetarian Thanksgiving theme, let me suggest this wonderful alternative to the traditional stuffed turkey. Acorn squash is my favorite for this dish, but any good winter squash will do. This dish is simple, and tasty enough, that you may decide to make it more often, instead of saving it for just Thanksgiving.
Prepare the stuffing first, and let it come to room temperature, about 2 hours, before using it to fill the squash.
2 large acorn squash (about 2 pounds, each)
cooking spray, or 1 tablespoon canola oil
For the stuffing
1/4 cup butter or olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
5 cups dried cornbread cubes
1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium low-heat or, if using olive oil, heat the olive oil until it starts to shimmer in the pan. Add onion, celery, seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the corn bread and toss to coat. Taste, adjusting the seasonings, as desired.
Remove from the heat and drizzle the vegetable brother over the top. Set it aside to cool while you cook the squash.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray, or coat with canola oil.
Cut the squash in half; remove the seeds and stringy bits. Place the cut squash, cut side down, on the prepared pan. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until tender, and remove the pan from the oven.
Turn the squash over and fill the cavities with the stuffing, dividing the stuffing equally between each squash half. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until topping starts to brown. Remove from oven and let cool, slightly. Cut each squash half in 2 pieces and serve.
Additional extra-virgin olive oil can drizzled over the top for an extra punch of flavor. A pinch of kosher salt or fresh ground pepper can be added, as well.
If you're not a vegan, you can use 1/4 cup of melted butter, instead of the olive oil, if you prefer.
Makes 8 servings.
Serve with mushroom and leek stroganoff, garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes, and other yummy side dishes for a great holiday meal.
Don't forget the sweet potato pie.
Photo by Greencolander. Used by permission.