I wasn’t kidding in this post when I said I had embraced autumn squash.  One of my family’s favorite recipes is the one below for Stuffed Acorn Squash.  My five-year old begs me to make “that thing with the beef where you can eat the bowl.”

View this recipe as a general guideline if you are the kind who likes to play and make substitutions.  I’ve added some notes along the way to help you substitute.

By the way, if you are like me and find a lot of your recipes online in blogs and such, consider joining Pepperplate.  I started storing all of my recipes online there a year ago and have absolutely loved it.  The iPad app has a “Cook Now” feature that will prevent the iPad from going into sleep mode while you are cooking, thus avoiding dirty fingerprints all over your screen.  They also offer a handy bookmarklet that is ideal for pulling recipes from blogs.

This recipe may appear overwhelming.  I break it up into three different tasks.  I roast the squashes the day before I plan to serve this and refrigerate them overnight.  Then, on the day I plan to serve, I make the filling while the kids are in school.  So when it’s dinner time I only need to preheat the oven, fill the squashes, and cook.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

(This makes roughly 4 servings, depending on how hungry your crowd is!)

  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 3 strips high quality bacon cut into 1/2 inch or smaller pieces
  • 1 medium apple, diced (no need to peel)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 3-4 large leaves of collard greens, lacinato kale, or, alternatively, a cup of fresh spinach
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 lb ground beef (you could also try ground pork or even sub 1/4 of a pound of pork sausage in with the beef)
  • 1/3 c dried cranberries (be careful sourcing these as many are sugar-laden)
  • salt + pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut squash in half and remove seeds.
  3. If your squashes have pointy bottoms, slice off the points so you get a flat surface.  (It’s okay if you end up with a little hole.  Just put them on some aluminum foil when you bake them.)
  4. Place squashes in baking dish, flesh side up, and roast for 45 minutes to an hour.  You don’t want them to get squishy.  The time it takes to cook depends on how thick your flesh is.
  5. While squashes are roasting (or later), heat your skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add bacon pieces to skillet and cook until they begin to crisp.  Remove and set aside.
  7. Leave bacon drippings in pan.
  8. Add apple, onion, and fennel to pan.  Cook until soft, stirring regularly.
  9. Chiffonade the greens.
  10. When apple/onion mixture is soft, add cinnamon and your greens to the pan.  Stir to combine and cook for another minute or so, just wilting the greens.  Remove mixture and set aside.
  11. Add ground beef (and/or other meats) to the pan.  Break apart the meat while it cooks.  Continue cooking until nearly completely brown.
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  13. Add cranberries.
  14. Add apple/onion mixture to pan.  Stir to combine and cook for a minute or so.
  15. Add bacon to mixture.  Stir to combine then remove from heat.
  16. Place squash halves in a baking dish.  Fill each half with your mixture.  Pat it down in there to make the filling very compact and allow it to form a mound.
  17. If you have leftover filling, put it in a small dish and cover with foil.  You can use it for when folks wants second servings.
  18. Cover squash dish with foil.
  19. Lower the oven to 350 degrees.
  20. Bake your squashes and your leftover filling for 45 minutes, covered.
  21. Serve!

This is the squash, halved but not seeded.  My acorn squashes came from my CSA box and were on the smaller side.  A larger squash would be better.

 

 

 

 

Here is the mixture just before it goes into the squash halves:

4 Responses to “Stuffed Acorn Squash”

  1. on 13 Oct 2012 at 8:02 amvictoria

    This looks delicious! They are on the agenda for this weekend.

  2. on 13 Oct 2012 at 8:49 amKristine Rudolph

    Fabulous! Let me know how they go and if you make any subs.

  3. on 22 Aug 2013 at 7:35 pmSarah Stubbs

    My husband and I love acorn squash so that’s how I found your recipe….but this was my first time using kale. Its amazing how things that smell so funny taste so good!

  4. on 22 Aug 2013 at 7:41 pmKristine Rudolph

    Thanks for giving it a go! I hope that you guys enjoyed it.

    My kids eat kale on pizza. 😉

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