Farm Foodie: Stuffed Squash
Bring on the Stuffing!
With fiery hues of autumn leaves swirling in the chilly afternoon wind, there’s no doubt we are well into fall and it is time to think about….Halloween…wait, that’s almost over already? Indeed, November is fast upon us and you know what that means.
If you are cooking for Thanksgiving, it’s time to get cracking on the menu. Having pored through so many delectable Thanksgiving recipes in recent weeks, I’m inspired to try out some new dishes this year as well as add a fresh twist to one or two family favorites.
There would probably be a small anarchy if I deviated too far away from our traditional oyster stuffing. But eyeing the huge box of chanterelles our forager recently brought in, I thought they would make a lovely and welcomed addition. Chances are chanterelle season will be over by Thanksgiving week, so I’ll hedge my bets and sauté a pile of chanterelles now to pop in the freezer for later.
Thoughts of butter and stuffing also got me thinking, what a shame it is we don’t enjoy really amazing, Thanksgiving feast-worthy stuffing more than once a year. With dozens of new stuffing recipes I’ve been itching to try, why wait three more weeks? (That’s right, only three more weeks!)
Now is the perfect time to test a new stuffing recipe. With winter squash beginning to roll off our farm, what better way to enjoy it than packed into sweet golden bowls? I decided to stuff my Delicata squash with Chanterelles and Pancetta, but you could easily switch out the Pancetta for some small cubes of Gruyere or chunks of apple if you prefer.
Regular bacon or sausage would also be wonderful. For the bread I just dried out some sandwich bread we had on hand in a 150° oven for about an hour. Cornbread would surely be a great option, too! Whatever your stuffing hankering is for, winter squash makes a perfect vehicle for it all winter long.
- 2 Delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out
- ¼ lb Pancetta, diced
- ¾ C chopped shallots
- ½ lb Chanterelle or other flavorful mushroom, roughly chopped
- 1 T finely chopped fresh or 1 t crushed dried thyme
- 1 T finely chopped fresh or 1 t crushed dried sage
- ½ cup dry white wine or apple cider
- 4 cups dried bread, torn into roughly 3/4” pieces, or stuffing mix
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ¼ c finely chopped Italian parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Place Delicata halves cut side down in a baking dish with ½” of water and bake approximately 30 minutes until tender but still firm. While squash bakes prepare filling.
- Saute Pancetta in over medium heat until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat, add shallots and continue cooking another 5 minutes until soft. Add mushrooms and herbs to pan and continue cooking until they begin to brown. Deglaze pan with wine or cider and let simmer another few minutes until mushrooms are soft.
- Place dried bread in a medium bowl and mushroom mixture. Stir to combine and add stock a bit at a time until the bread is moist but not totally soggy. Use more or less depending on your preference. The stuffing will absorb some moisture from the squash and other veggies as it bakes, but not much. Stir in parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Carefully remove squash pan from oven and drain off any remaining water. Turn squash over so cut sides are up. Divide stuffing evenly between squash halves, drizzle with a bit of good olive oil and return pan to oven. Bake for about 30 minutes longer until stuffing lightly browned and squash is tender.