For the last two years, my husband and I have planted acorn squash in our garden. The first year, I was apprehensive because I never tried it before. But, after my husband grilled some with butter and brown sugar and convinced me to try it, I enjoyed it! Fast forward to this year, and we forgot to plant acorn squash. Yes, you read that correctly. We forgot. Oops!
So, when a friend and I went on an adventure to Root’s Country Market, we found one stand that was selling acorn squash. Since we hadn’t eaten any in quite a while, I purchased one and cooked it for dinner that night. I had already gotten loose sausage out of the freezer to thaw, so I needed to find a way to incorporate these two items.
I could have made meatballs and baked the acorn squash plain, but I decided to try something new! Sausage-filled acorn squash it is!
I began by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and preparing the acorn squash. I sliced the squash in half and scooped out all of the seeds with a spoon. I did a little research, and appears that the seeds are edible, just like pumpkin seeds. They contain many helpful nutrients, so if you would like to save the seeds and roast them, that may be a good idea for a healthful snack!
After the seeds (and other slimy innards) were removed, I made diagonal cuts into the flesh of the squash, being careful not to pierce the skin. I brushed olive oil all over the inside of the acorn squash, then sprinkled it with salt and pepper.
I placed the two halves into a glass baking dish and put it in the oven, setting the timer for one hour.
While the squash was baking, I browned a pound of sausage. This dish only needs ½ pound of meat, but I browned the whole package because I planned to use the leftover meat for spaghetti the following night. I used my husband’s venison sausage, but any kind of sausage would be good! We also have my husband’s Italian sausage loose in the freezer, which would work well with this dish. And if you do not have any loose sausage, ground beef (or venison, which is what we almost always use) with some of your favorite seasonings would taste good as well.
Once the sausage was browned, I waited until the timer had 20 minutes left to pull the squash out of the oven. I scooped the sausage into the “bowls” in the squash until there was a heaping pile. I put the squash back into the oven.
When there was 10 minutes remaining on the timer, I removed the squash from the oven again, this time to sprinkle the top with freshly grated mild cheddar cheese. I returned the baking dish into the oven for the remainder of the baking time.
That is all there is to it! When you remove the squash from the oven, be sure to poke the sides of the squash with a fork to be sure it is tender. Also, we do not eat the skin of the acorn squash. I’m sure there are some people who do, as it is probably full of nutrients, but we just eat the insides out and leave the skin. It’s a lot like eating out of an edible bowl!
If you’ve never eaten an acorn squash before, I would compare it to a mix between a spaghetti squash and a sweet potato.
This is a great fall dish as the weather is getting cooler and winter squash provide a hardy, healthy meal! Enjoy!