When the days get colder and the nights are long, I like to start making Fall-inspired meals. And, I love stuffing. Winter squash, like acorn, are easy to work with. And a good stuffing does not take much time to whip up. This time I incorporated my beverage of choice these days, hard cider. (Though I was told to stop calling it 'hard'.)
This recipe is an easy dinner to impress friends, or just a nice addition to your week day roundup. Cheers!
- 1 winter squash (we used acorn)
- Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing squash
- 1 cup sausage
- 12 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 small zucchini
- ½ a yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup shredded sheep or goat cheese (Lamb Chopper is delicious!)
- 2 cups Wrangletown Cider
- 2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Slice the squash in half from stem to root and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut-side-down in a baking dish and pour in enough hot water to fill the pan by about 1/4 inch. Cover the dish loosely with foil and place the dish in the oven.
Roast the squash: Roast the squash until very soft and tender when poked with a fork or paring knife, 30 to 50 minutes. Exact roasting time will depend on the size and variety of your squash.
Prepare the Filling: While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When hot, add the sausage, onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and zucchini, and continue to sauté until the mushrooms have released most of their moisture and begun to turn golden brown. Combine your cooked quinoa with the rest of the filling.
Add Cider: While your filling is simmering, add 2 cups of Wrangletown Cider. Let simmer for another few minutes until the Cider is nearly absorbed. Taste and adjust the spices, salt, and pepper to your liking.
Stuff the squash halves: Flip the cooked squash halves so they form bowls. Rub the inside with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Divide the filling between the halves and top with your cheese— it's fine to really stuff the wells and also to mound the filling on top.
Bake the stuffed squash halves until bubbly: Re-cover the pan with the foil and bake the halves for another 15 to 20 minutes until both are hot and bubbly. Top with extra cheese and serve immediately. Enjoy!