Potato-Stuffed Acorn Squash

>> Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekends are always wonderful. But they're especially wonderful when the sun sets early. Like in late October. When the seasonal depression starts to set in. What weekends mean for me is time to cook and bake . . . and take photos of all different kinds of food. It's a treat that's becoming rarer and rarer as we near the winter months.

I know I complain often, but it's exceedingly difficult to come home from work at 5PM, cook dinner, and have anything to show for it. Except a full belly. I have one of those most every night. Thanks for asking.

We had two lovely acorn squashes maturing on our kitchen counter for over a month. I'd been meaning to make all sorts of things with them. But when I finally had the chance, I quickly decided that a good roast-and-stuff was the way to go. As we discussed yesterday, sometimes a basic roasting is the best prep method for your favorite vegetables. Yeah. We kept the theme simple this past weekend. And I think what we made is lovely. Thanksgiving-like, which is propelling my mind far further into the depths of fall than I'd like it to go right now.

From here on out, it's all desaturated mountainscapes, raking mounds of fallen leaves, and slip sliding away into the holiday season (can you believe we have snow forecasted for tomorrow?). Then it's into that awful stretch between January and March where there's no sun, no warmth, no time off, and tons of sloppy driving situations.

At least the food is comforting.


What you'll need . . .
  • 2 acorn squashes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15 to 20 small red potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cooking onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Almond milk (or other, see substitutions)

To roast the squash . . .
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Split the squashes in half and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. 
  3. Place the squash halves -- cut sides up -- on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. 
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until they are tender.
  5. Prepare the filling in the meantime . . .

To make the filling . . .
  1. Chop you onion, garlic, and scrub your potatoes.
  2. You may either boil your potatoes until they are tender or poke holes in each with a fork (twice for each potato is what I did). Microwave on high until tender.
  3. While you wait, over medium-high heat, saute your onion and garlic until the onions are glassy. Toss on some pepper and salt to taste.
  4. Toss everything -- including the chopped sage -- into a large mixing bowl. Add almond milk 1/4 cup at a time and keep mashing until you reach a chunky mashed potato consistency.
  5. If your acorn squash are done roasting, turn up the heat in your oven to 400 degrees F. Remove squash from the oven and fill each with the potato mash.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.

Don't worry. Despite how it may look, no stuffed squashes were harmed in the documentation of this process. They enjoy being tipped at weird angles for photos. And then devoured from their insides out, leaving only their tough skins as a mark of their existence.

You may also choose to top with some cheese (slices of applewood smoked cheddar are good, so is Parmesan) . . . paprika . . . nutritional yeast. Etc. Do this before baking for those 10 minutes. We topped ours with cheese and broiled it a bit until brown and bubbly. Of course, during my glamor photo session, the cats were close by. So, if you don't like this recipe -- NOT POSSIBLE -- you can always feel it to your furry ones.

What's your favorite season . . . and why? Mine is fall. For obvious reasons, including: Vibrant foliage. Pumpkin in EVERYTHING (but that's a year-round thing for me). Sweaters and sandals. Apples and cider and, most importantly, cider donuts. Crisp, cool, but not yet cold, air. Wind and dark clouds (but somehow no rain). However, around this time in fall (late October) I start to smell winter at night. And, well, it depresses me!

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