This time of year we can find plenty of winter squash varieties at supermarkets and farmer’s markets. It’s just one of the reasons I love Fall!
I grew up eating lots of winter squash in New England (especially Butternut and Blue Hubbard) because our neighbor grew them and we had a standing order for a bushel (we stored it in our root cellar all winter). Mr. Linn was a big, burly, oh-so-friendly Scot who loved to work in his garden, and his squash was especially sweet and delicious — the best I’ve ever had. We used it in breads, pies, purees, cakes and soups — you name it, we made it. One of my favorite memories was watching his cat follow him around the garden, sometimes sitting next to him on the tractor while he tilled the soil. I often spotted that cat dashing out of corn rows or squash blossoms carrying a critter — he was the perfect pest control system 🙂
I miss having access to that squash, but I can still find tasty varieties in Florida. At the farmer’s market last week I picked up these Seminole Pumpkins. They look like a mix between Butternut and pumpkin, and they’ve been growing in Florida for a very long time. The texture, color and flavor is very similar to Butternut, and they’re sweet and delicious.
Because they’re small, I decided to stuff them. I lobbed off their tops, scooped out the seeds, spooned in some stuffing and popped them in the oven. I think these stuffed squash would be great with anything, really. You could even enjoy one of these little guys with a salad and call it a day. Even if you don’t have this variety, you can stuff any regular-size winter squash with this filling — just cut the squash into halves or quarters and follow the below instructions. Butternut, Blue Hubbard, Kabocha, Carnival, Sweet Dumpling and Buttercup would work well.
You can modify the stuffing based on what you have on hand (and you can’t go wrong with the basic mix of butter, onions, celery and sausage). Exact measurements aren’t really necessary, either – just toss in whatever you think will work and season to taste. Enjoy!
- 4 small winter squash (or 2 larger size like Acorn, Buttercup, etc.)
- 2 Tb. unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4-6 small mushrooms (cremini or white), chopped
- dash kosher salt
- dash freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Granny Smith apple, chopped
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
- ½ c. Spanish Chourico OR Italian sausage (casing removed, crumbled)
- 10-12 Ritz OR saltine crackers
- 3-4 Tb. chicken broth
- Heat oven to 375 degrees.
- Prepare the squash - if using small sizes, cut off the tops and scoop out the seeds. Reserve the tops to roast alongside squash. If using larger squash (like Acorn), cut the squash in half (lengthwise) and scoop out the seeds.
- In a small skillet over medium/high heat, melt butter then add onion, celery & mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium and allow the mixture to sweat - about 2-3 minutes - then remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, add chopped apple and rosemary then add warm onion/celery mixture to bowl.
- In the same pan, toss in crumbled Chorizo (or sausage) and cook on low for a few minutes. When done, add to bowl.
- Add crushed crackers to bowl.
- Add 1 Tb. at a time of broth to mixture and stir after each addition -- you just want enough broth to hold everything together, but not be mushy and wet.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Mound each squash cavity with as much filling as it will hold.
- Place the squashes in a 9X13 baking dish and add about about 1 c. of water to the base of the dish. Be sure to place the squash lids flat in the dish (they’ll make nice toppers for the cooked squash).
- Cover with foil and place into hot oven.
- After about 40 minutes, remove foil and test squash with a small knife. If it comes out clean, they’re cooked. If not, return to oven, uncovered, until soft (total cooking time is about 50-60 minutes). Check periodically to ensure they’re not overcooking.
- Remove and cool before serving.