Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baked Butternut Squash With Sausage and Apples

While it seems that I've satisfied my recent obsession with cooking all things involving pumpkins, I've since replaced that obsession with squash. But as my friend Karen reasoned, they're both in the gourd family. Ever since squash started appearing at the farmers' market earlier this month, I've been attempting new squash recipes with hearty fillings that make a meal of themselves.

Recently, I attempted the following recipe, which I found in my Joy of Cooking cookbook--pretty much the bible of cookbooks. Luckily, I had some helpers for this recipe and plenty of time, because it was quite tedious and involved many ingredients and lots of chopping. I chose the recipe because it sounded delicious, but didn't realize at the time that it involved three separate recipes! The meal was fabulous, but I'm not going to lie, it was a pain. I was flipping between pages 309, 532, and 533, which were recipes for Baked Butternut Squash, Basic Bread Stuffing, and Bread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples, respectively. Of course you could buy pre-made stuffing and make things a whole lot easier, but I can't help myself, I'm a cooking purist.

I would definitely recommend this recipe for a hearty fall dinner. It also warmed up nicely as leftovers. I've taken the liberty of combining the three recipes into one, below. I think a single, complete recipe (although long) will make it much easier for anyone else who wants to take a stab at the meal. Enjoy!

Baked Butternut Squash Stuffed With Sausage and Apples
Joy of Cooking (75th anniversary edition), pg. 309
4 servings

2 butternut squash (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound sliced firm white sandwich, French, or Italian bread, including crusts, cut into ½-inch cubes (10 cups lightly packed)
¼ to ½ cup (1/2 to 1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
¼ cup to ½ cup minced parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 to 1 cup chicken stock or broth, or as needed
1 pound bulk pork sausage
4 cups diced peeled green apples, such as Granny Smith
4 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a baking dish. Halve lengthwise and remove the seeds and strings. Arrange cut side up in the baking dish and brush lightly with oil. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake until almost tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the squash cool slightly. Keep the oven on.

Toast bread cubes on a large baking sheet at 400F, stirring several times, until golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn bread cubes into a large bowl.

Heat a large skillet with butter over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Then add the onions and celery and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the bread cubes and toss until well combined. Stir in the chicken broth, a little at a time, until the stuffing is lightly moist but not packed together.

Cook pork sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break up the meat with a spoon, until it is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat and return the skillet to the heat. Add the apples and cook, stirring, until tender. Add the sausage and apples to the bread stuffing.

When the squash has cooled, scoop out most of the flesh, leaving 3/8-inch-thick shells. Lightly mix the squash pulp into the stuffing mixture, breaking up the squash as little as possible.

Pile the stuffing into the squash halves. Dot each half with 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces, and 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar.

Bake, uncovered, until piping hot and brown and crusty on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before serving.


KRD said...

psyched to try this. looks delish. i have a TON of apples and one squash that are begging to become this.

Anonymous said...