Sausage and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

This is my second try with this recipe concept.  The first time was a few months ago, using this kale and sausage recipe from Epicurious.  While it was good, I felt like it was lacking..something. This week I took another run at it, and I really like what I ended up with.   It would make a nice dinner party entree, and the recipe scales easily.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash (medium or large, just aim for two about the same size)
  • 12 oz pork sausage (Italian or breakfast works well)
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed stuffing mix
  • Thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage
  • Pinch red pepper flake (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan

 

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Halve squash, and slice a small round of the back of each half (so it has a stable base to sit on when stuffed.  Scrape out seeds (and save those for roasting later).  Place cavity side down in oven safe tray with 1/4″ of water in the bottom. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork.

While the squash are baking, prepare the filling.  Brown sausage, then add butter, onion and mushrooms to pan.  As those sauté, add your herbs and salt and pepper.  If you have fresh rosemary, that is a particularly nice addition here, but not required.  When the sausage, mushrooms, and onions have cooked through, kill the heat and add the stuffing mix.  Stir mix in, trying to soak up any juices in the pan as you go.  Add the wine, and let the stuffing absorb that too.  If it looks dry still, add some stock or water until your stuffing is no longer crunchy.  Add a couple of tablespoons of parmesan to the mixture.

For actually stuffing your squash, drain the water from the tray and flip the squash cavity side up.  Sprinkle some salt, pepper and parmesan onto each squash.  Fill the cavity with your stuffing mixture (I’d say I got about a cup of stuffing into each squash, but that will depend on the size of your squash). As you fill, gently press the filling into the cavity.  You don’t want to pack it tightly, but make sure you don’t have large unfilled pockets in there.  Top each filled squash with more parmesan, and broil for a few minutes, until your parmesan toasts to golden brown.

These are great right out of the oven, but I think they get even better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two.  They reheat well in the microwave, so feel free to make an extra squash for leftovers.

Skillet Meatloaf

Meatloaf is always one of those dishes that ends up tasting far better than it sounds.  This skillet variation cooks more quickly than baking alone, and it leaves you with easy to use drippings for a gravy.  The ingredients presented are for a pretty standard American meatloaf, but feel free to use your favorite recipe.  I have a suspicion would be an outstanding method for a Cajun flavored meatloaf as well (which is what I’m going to try the next time we make this).

Ingredients

For meatloaf:

  • 1 lb ground beef (I use 90% lean)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup small diced onion
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp season salt
  • Dash granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 pinch celery seed
  • 1/2-3/4 cup bread crumbs (as needed)
  • Black pepper
  • 1 large pinch thyme
  • Genergous dash of worcestershire sauce

Other ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Beef stock (2-3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

Method 

Mix ingredients for meatloaf together until combined.  Shape into 4 patties. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Brown meatloaf patties, about 4-5 minutes aside.  Adjust heat as needed to keep them from burning.  Place patties in a oven safe greased tray, and brush with chili sauce, ketchup, or ketchup and sriracha mixture (my preference).  Bake for 10 minutes.

 

While the meatloaf finishes in the oven, make the gravy.  Melt butter in skillet, and stir flour in to make a roux.  When the roux hits a light khaki color, add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add beef stock, stirring constantly until you hit the consistency you like.  Adjust seasoning, turn heat down and stir regularly.

 

At this point, I recommend turning the oven to broil, raising the oven rack and broiling the meatloaf for a couple of minutes to really get the ketchup coating to bubble and glaze.  This is optional. but highly recommended.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.