Get ready to indulge in a deliciously satisfying dinner with this Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe. Combining the savory flavors of sausage with the sweetness of apples, this dish is a perfect blend of comfort and taste. With tender acorn squash as the base, each bite is bursting with warm and hearty flavors that will leave you feeling satisfied and content. Whether you’re looking for a flavorful weeknight meal or planning a special dinner, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household.
The star of this dish, the acorn squash, is a winter squash known for its sweet and nutty flavor. Look for acorn squashes that are firm and heavy for their size, with a deep green color.
Choose your favorite type of sausage, whether it’s mild or spicy, to add a savory kick to the stuffing. You can opt for pork sausage, chicken sausage, or even a vegetarian sausage alternative, depending on your dietary preferences.
The sweetness of the apple perfectly complements the savory flavors in this dish. Pick a variety that’s firm and slightly tart, such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, for a nice contrast of flavors and textures.
Celery adds a refreshing and crunch factor to the stuffing. Make sure to wash and chop the celery into small pieces before adding it to the mix.
An essential ingredient in many recipes, onions provide a flavorful base for the stuffing. Choose a yellow or white onion and finely chop it to ensure it cooks evenly with the other ingredients.
For that aromatic touch, mince some garlic cloves and incorporate them into the stuffing. The garlic will infuse the dish with a wonderful scent and depth of flavor.
Dried cranberries bring a hint of tartness and sweetness to balance out the savory elements of this recipe. They also add a pop of color, making the dish even more visually appealing.
Fresh thyme leaves will impart a delicate earthiness and a slightly lemony flavor to the stuffing. Strip the leaves from the stems before adding them to the mix.
Breadcrumbs help bind the stuffing together and give it a nice texture. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs or make your own by toasting and processing some bread slices.
Butter not only adds richness to the stuffing but also helps brown and crisp the top layer of the acorn squash during baking. Be sure to use unsalted butter, so you can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
Salt and pepper
Season the stuffing with salt and pepper to taste. The seasoning will enhance the flavors of the other ingredients and make the dish more balanced.
Preheat the oven
Before starting with the preparation, preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). This will ensure that your stuffed acorn squash cooks evenly and thoroughly.
Prepare the acorn squash
Begin by carefully cutting the acorn squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. To make it easier to stuff, you can also slice a thin layer from the rounded side of each squash half to create a stable base.
Cook the sausage
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until browned and cooked through. Make sure to break up any large chunks of sausage with a spoon or spatula as it cooks. Once done, transfer the cooked sausage to a large bowl.
Sauté the vegetables
Using the same skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and celery, and sauté until they become translucent and slightly softened. Stir in the minced garlic and continue cooking for another minute to release its aroma. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the bowl with the sausage.
Combine the filling
To the bowl with the sausage and vegetables, add the chopped apple, dried cranberries, fresh thyme leaves, and breadcrumbs. Mix everything together until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add any additional herbs or spices if desired. The result should be a flavorful and fragrant mixture.
Stuff the acorn squash
Divide the filling evenly among the acorn squash halves, mounding it slightly in the centers. Press the filling down gently to ensure it’s packed tightly. If you have any leftover filling, you can either bake it separately in a small dish or save it for another recipe.
Bake in the oven
Place the stuffed acorn squash on a baking sheet and drizzle each half with a little melted butter. This will help the stuffing brown and develop a crispy top. Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
Serve and enjoy
Once the stuffed acorn squash is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Carefully transfer each half to a serving plate and garnish with additional fresh thyme leaves if desired. Serve it as a main course with a side salad or as a delicious side dish alongside roasted meats or poultry. Enjoy the comforting and flavorful combination of the sausage and apple stuffing with the sweet and nutty acorn squash!
Notes and Tips
Choosing the acorn squash
When selecting acorn squash, look for ones that feel heavy for their size and have a deep green color. Avoid squashes with soft spots or blemishes, as they may be overripe or damaged.
Feel free to get creative with the stuffing by adding other ingredients that you love. Diced mushrooms, chopped walnuts, or even cooked quinoa can be excellent additions that add extra texture and flavor.
Make it vegetarian
To make this recipe vegetarian-friendly, simply omit the sausage and add more vegetables or even cooked grains, such as quinoa or wild rice, to the stuffing. You can also consider using plant-based sausages or crumbled tofu as a substitute for the meat.
Storage and reheating
If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. When reheating, place the stuffed acorn squash halves in a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash is a delightful and satisfying meal that brings together the flavors of the season. The sweet and nutty acorn squash serves as a tender and flavorful vessel for the savory sausage and apple stuffing. With the added crunch of celery, pops of tartness from dried cranberries, and the aroma of fresh thyme and garlic, this dish is a perfect blend of comforting and festive flavors. Whether you serve it as a main course or a side dish, this recipe is sure to impress and leave you wanting more. Enjoy this delicious dish during the fall and winter months when squash is abundant and warming meals are most welcome!