Stuffing Acorn Squash
Having had lots of squash around this winter I've been trying out lots of things to do with it, including stuffing acorn squash. I'm looking for a savory stuffing that makes it more like a meal than a side dish, but I have yet to find the right thing. First I tried a rice and sausage stuffing hat called for some of the squash to be scraped out and mixed with the filling - the end result was to lose the flavor of the squash entirely, making it just a paste to hold the other stuff together. Then I tried an orzo and cheese filling that left the squash whole - this turned out basically like mac'n'cheese in squash, with no mixing of flavors at all really. It was like two separate dishes. So, does anyone have a good recipe for stuffed squash where the flavor of the squash is retained AND the flavors of the stuffing really work with it?
I like acorn squash stuffed with the type fo sausage stuffing you'd use for a turkey, a little heavier on the sausage. Either breakfast or sweet Italian sausage, browned in bean-sized bits, with onion, celery, wheat and/or cornbread, apple, cider, egg, chicken stock, and a light hand on the sage, salt, and pepper. The vegetables and apple are added to the partially-cooked sausage, sauteeing all together until nearly completely cooked, then adding the bread, liquids, and seasoning. Brush the squash cavity with cider and melted butter, sprinkle with S&P, then mound in the stuffing, brush with melted butter, and bake at 350 until squash is tender and stuffing has a browned crust.
I sometimes mix coarsely ground veal and pork. I heat some oil and saute some chopped onion and garlic, then add the ground meat just long enough to brown it slightly. I pour off the oil, cool it below 150 degrees, mix in a binder (usually raw egg) and S&P to taste, then I use the mixture to stuff the acorn squash. Before stuffing, I find that I sometimes have to spoon our a bit of the squash to make room for the meat (depends on the squash) and then I scrape the surface of the squash flesh with a fork, spread on a layer of unsalted butter, stuff the squash and bake until done.
Meat and squash maintain distinct flavor profiles and the sticky mass that results from rice, bread, and other starch based stuffing (rice or potatoes go on the side) are eliminated.
Squash is a starch. Stuffing a starch with another starch just doesn't make sense to me.
I have never considered stuffing an acorn squash! I would think a simple stuffing would be best.... something like rice, chestnuts and sage for example would balance nicely. At Thanksgiving, I always love it when my creamed onions flow into my acorn squash, so maybe there is a flavor combination there that could be incorporated.
I can't add for the stuffing, as the flavour is too strong for me on it's own. I use it for soups (pureed), sauces, or stuffing ravioli.