Hi friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted but I’ve got a great recipe for stuffed squash for you and I know you will love it. We’re full on into the holiday season and even though Atlanta is expecting a balmy 74 degrees for Christmas, I’m in Winter mode and looking for comforting flavors full of deep, warming spices. This sausage and cranberry stuffed squash really fits the bill. Squash is roasted until soft and creamy and is stuffed with a perfectly spiced sausage mixture studded with dried cranberries.
As I mentioned, I know it’s been awhile since I last posted. I started a brand spankin’ new job in October and while it’s been amazing, I’ve definitely been taking this time to adjust to the new job and have let my hobbies fall a bit to the wayside while I do that. That being said, I have no plans to abandon this blog so I hope y’all will just be a bit patient with me while I figure out my new posting schedule and life in general. As a side note, can I just please express to y’all the freedom and joy that comes from quitting a job that is not a good fit and taking the time to find something wonderful?! We spend too much time at work to be miserable and it’s never too late to regroup and find a new path. Not only am I happier and less stressed, but I get to feel proud of the company I work for every day and that is just amazing.
Ok, let’s get down to biz-nass and talk about squash for a second. When I made this recipe I used sweet dumpling squash which I had actually never used before. Acorn squash are very close cousins to sweet dumpling and can absolutely be used in this recipe, in addition to delicata squash. But, if you have access to sweet dumpling, I definitely recommend picking some up. The main difference is that they are the cutest squash ever. It’s like mother nature went 16-bit. They also have a bit more of a starchy flavor that remains sweet, almost like corn, vs. the nuttier flavor of acorn squash and creamy flavor of delicata. They were in the bin of squash that shows up every fall at my local grocery so I think they will be very easy for you to find through the cold winter months.
The rest of the ingredients are pretty basic though I will tell you that you can use any kind of sweet sausage you want. I actually grabbed some turkey sausage this time and it was delicious while also being a little lower in fat than traditional pork sausage. You’ll also need some chicken broth for the stuffing mixture so be sure to check out my slow cooker chicken broth recipe. It’s so much cheaper and flavorful than buying the cartons at the store and it was so nice to know I had that ingredient in my freezer ready to go. I used regular dried cranberries when I made this recipe but cherry flavored dried cranberries would add some amazing extra flavor.
The hardest part of this stuffed squash recipe is splitting those gosh darn squash down the middle without a trip to the emergency room. So, I suggest sharpening those knives just before you begin to give you the safest and best results. Do we need to talk about knife sharpening skills here? We can do that one day if we need to but for today, let’s remember that dull knives are infinitely more dangerous than sharp ones when it comes to the kitchen. I have a basic knife sharpener like this one that I pull out almost every time I use my knives and it makes a world of a difference in my food prep and safety.
These stuffed squash would pair nicely with some green beans or a salad but they are so filling that I won’t tell anyone if you eat them all on their own. And then spend an hour in a stuffed squash coma on the couch.
- 2 sweet dumpling squash
- 2 T olive divided
- salt and pepper
- ½ pound sweet sausage
- 1 T butter
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 t poultry seasoning
- 1½ cups seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Carefully cut squash in half and remove seeds, scraping the flesh out with a metal spoon. Brush the cut sides with one T of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place squash cut-side down in a roasting pan and then pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan about a quarter of an inch up the side. Roast the squash in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. .
- In a large skillet, brown and crumble the sausage over medium heat. Set aside in a large bowl. Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet. Add the onion and celery and season with salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute until fragrant. Add the cranberries, pecans, broth, and poultry seasoning and turn off the heat. Allow the cranberries to soften and plump while the squash finishes roasting.
- Mix the bread crumbs with the sausage and then add the vegetable/broth/cranberry mixture. Mix until evenly distributed. At this time, you can add a bit more broth if the mixture seems overly dry.
- Remove squash from oven and scoop the filling into the cavity. Return filled squash to oven and bake another 10-15 minutes or until stuffing has heated through and the tops have browned.
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