Sunday, November 18, 2012
The idea for this recipe has been in the works for some time in one form or another. I've been wanting to make a stuffed roasted vegetable dish for a while. As we entered November, I started mulling over stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving. And now that we are three days away (a fact which I am still trying to process) I settled on acorn squash stuffed with bird stuffing.
The stuffing I used here one of my favorite stuffing recipes which I've adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It is a favorite because it's flavorful, it provides some variety from the ordinary stuffing recipes (it is heavy on the mushrooms rather than bread), and it makes good use of the organ meat from the bird which is sometimes discarded.
I am a proponent of the idea that if you are buying a whole bird, you should find a way to use everything that comes with it, including the liver, gizzard, and the neck, the latter of which I usually use for stock. As I mentioned in this duck recipe, liver can be used to make a wonderful pâté which you can serve as an appetizer for hungry guests. Or, as here, you can use the liver along with any other organ meat in the stuffing itself, providing a nice compliment to the bird.
Acorn squash comes in a variety of sizes. For this recipe my intention was to serve them as an appetizer, or something you can put on your plate along with the bird carvings and a side. As a result, I used the smallest acorn squash I could find, and the ones I used here were about the size of a tennis ball. The stuffing amount was perfect to stuff eight halves of the squash that size.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushroom Stuffing
(Makes 8 stuffed acorn squash halves)
Recipe for the mushroom stuffing adapted from Julia Child
You will need:
4 small acorn squash (10-14 oz each)
3 tbsp canola oil, divided
gizzard and liver from 1 bird, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
10 oz button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
2.5 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sage leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
4 tbsp sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice each squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves on the baking sheet and use about 2 tbsp canola oil to lightly rub the inside of each half with it. Place in the oven and roast until softened, about 20 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tbsp canola oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add the gizzard and the liver, and sauté until no longer pink, about 7-10 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium high and sauté until the wine is almost evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Place in a bowl, reserving any liquids in the pan.
3. In the same pan, sauté mushrooms and the shallot until the water from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the gizzard and liver along with parsley, sage, bread crumbs and sour cream. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Remove the squash from the oven, let cool slightly and stuff each half with the mushroom stuffing. Increase the oven to 400ºF, and roast for 10-15 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is crisp and golden brown. Serve and enjoy.