Fall Comfort: Sausage and Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

November 4, 2014

Sausage and rice stuffed acorn squash is a whole meal stuffed into one bright orange capsule.  Stuffed acorn squash is the winter version of stuffed bell peppers or stuffed zucchini (also called zucchini boats).  The cooking method is more or less the same; the only thing that changes is the vegetable.  This recipe is quick, easy and extremely versatile.

To prepare the squash to be stuffed, it must be cut lengthwise.  First and foremost, use a sharp chef's knife to slice the squash down the middle.  With a dull knife, you have a greater chance of hurting yourself because you are working twice as hard to make the cut. Also, the ribbed nature of the squash makes it unsteady on the cutting board so it is best to slice off 1/4 inch off the bottom to create a flat surface.  This will also prevent the squash halves from rocking on the baking sheet while cooking.  When you are ready to half the squash, cut through the stem end to the point rather than across the diameter.  After, scoop out the seeds and stuff! Reserve the seeds so that you can toast and snack on them later.

The beauty of acorn squash is that there is a natural pocket to put the stuffing.  While this particular recipe fills the squash with a a rice and sausage mixture, you can cater your stuffing to what you have available in your pantry.  Also, you can make substitutions if eaters have special dietary restrictions such as being vegetarian or gluten-free.  Sausage and rice stuffed acorn squash is a delectable dish that's great for a cold winter's night or part of a holiday meal.

Variations:

Harvest Filling: Wheatberry, dried cranberries, celery, green onion, chopped walnuts and  chopped granny smith apples
Parmesan and Quinoa: grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, quinoa, toasted chopped pecans, fresh sage and rosemary
Southwestern: Brown rice, black beans, roasted red peppers, corn, jalapenos, and Mexican cheese
Chili: Leftover chili (meat lovers or vegetarian), green onions, jalapenos, sour cream and cheese

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