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Stuffed Squash as a Thanksgiving Side Dish

Erin Bailey shows us a creative and delicious way to make a unique side dish for Thanksgiving.

With the abundance of squash that we'll have throughout the season, I thought we'd do something a little bit different this week and actually demo a recipe. 

You're probably noticing all of the pretty little squash you're finding in the market or in your CSA box, but you might not be exactly sure how to use them.  Something I like to do is to roast them whole, stuff them, and serve them as a side dish.  It makes a really pretty presentation, and it's actually elegant enough to serve at your Thanksgiving meal. 

For this recipe, you can really use any kind of squash.  What I have here are two little acorn squash, and what I've done is I've cut the bottom off to make it stable so that it's flat.  I've then taken my knife and cut around the top.  Just like if you're carving a pumpkin, and you cut the top off.  And if you open it up, you'll see all the little seeds.  We're actually going to roast them whole.  We'll put them in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment paper at about 350 degrees for an hour.  If you don't want to use small squash for individual plates, you can also use a large squash, any squash will do. Just do the same preparation, cut the top off and then we're going to roast it whole.  Obviously, for a larger squash it's going to take more time, so turn the oven down to about 325 degrees and check it after about an hour, it might take about 90 minutes. 

What we have here are two little sweet dumpling squash that I've already roasted.  When the come out of the oven, you'll open them up and just take a spoon and scrape away the seeds.  You'll do the same with the interior, but be careful not to scrape away the flesh, because that's actually a part that we're going to eat.  When they're finished, they'll look clean and hollowed out. 

For the stuffing of our squash, we're going to sautee some apples, onions and shallots in a pan.  We're going to start with a little bit of olive oil, just make sure it's covering the bottom of the pan.  We're going to season with a little salt and a little pepper and let those get nice and brown. 

If you saw in one of our former episodes when we blanched our chard, we're going to use that today in our recipe.  If you don't have any frozen chard, you can certainly use frozen spinach, that will work just as well. We're just going to un-crumble this and add it to our pan, and mix it in. 

Once our chard is sauteed, we're going to fill our squash.  Once our mixture is in, we're going to garnish with pomegranate seeds for color, you could also use dried or fresh cranberries.  We'll also garnish with some toasted almonds, which you can substitute with pine nuts or walnuts.  Then we'll put our tops on, and they're ready to serve! 

Stuffed Squash

Serves 4 as a Side Dish

4 sweet dumpling squash, roasted and seeds removed*

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced

2 shallots, peeled and minced

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch Swiss chard, roughly chopped and blanched

4 tablespoons pomegranate arils or dried cranberries

4 tablespoons toasted almonds, walnuts or pine nuts, chopped

In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbs olive oil over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the apple, onion and shallot, season with sea salt and ground pepper and sauté until browned.

Once browned, add the Swiss chard and stir to combine.  Remove from the heat.

Divide mixture between the four squash.  Garnish with pomegranate arils and chopped nuts. 

Serve warm. 

Bon Appetit!

*Any small squash may be substituted for this recipe, such as acorn or pie pumpkins.  

Note: Many supermarkets in the Niles-Morton Grove area, such as Super Tony's, Shop N' Save, Meijer, Jewel-Osco and others feature many varieties of squash. 

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