Acorn squash is easily my favorite winter squash variety. Seriously, move over, butternut, cause acorn squash is king in my kitchen.
First, it is easy peasy to roast. Just cut it in half and scoop out the seeds – no peeling necessary. When its fork-soft, you can easily scoop the flesh out of the shell or just eat it! Frankly, I say just eat it. It is quite thin and delicate, packed with fiber, and (I have nothing but my gut feeling to back this up) loaded with vitamins! Listen, even if there are zero health benefits to acorn squash peels, not peeling your acorn squash will save you time and energy, and you truly will not notice the skin. Also, I think they are much prettier unpeeled. I keep saying acorn squash because you DO have to peel butternut and other squash and I do not want to lead you astray through a lack of specificity.
While I love roasted acorn squash all on its own, it pairs well with salty turkey sausage and a mix of spicy and sweet peppers. Add fresh onions and garlic, plus dried cumin and hot paprika and the dish suddenly takes on a distinctly southwestern flavor. Not surprising, since I basically just listed the ingredients for chili powder, which you can easily substitute.
This recipe is great for fall, but I start making stuffed acorn squash as soon as they hit the farmers market in late July, because stuffed squash is a great way to stretch leftovers! I like to stuff roasted squash with leftover fried rice, breakfast hash, and stir fry. Its like nature’s bowl for your leftovers!
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
1-2 acorn squash, de-stemmed, halved, and de-seeded
1-2 tbs clarified butter
2-3 tsp hot paprika
1 lb spicy turkey sausage
1 onion, chopped
3-6 mixed peppers, depending on the size, de-seeded and chopped. I used a mix of sweet peppers, jalapeños, and poblanos
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 rosemary sprigs
5 thyme sprigs
1 tsp cumin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Divide butter between the squash cups, and sprinkle with hot paprika, salt, and pepper. Put in oven. Periodically baste squash with melted butter pooled inside squash cups. Roast until squash is easily pierced with fork.
While squash cooks, brown sausage in a large wok on medium high, set aside.
In the same wok, heat 1 tbs of olive oil on medium high, then sauté onions and peppers with thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper until onions turn translucent. Add garlic and deglaze wok with white wine, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the wok. Return sausage to the pan and sprinkle with cumin. Reduce liquid until only a few tbs remain. Remove herb sprigs.
Fill acorn cups with sausage mix and serve.
Here are some pins to save this leftover hack for later!