This stuffed acorn squash is a delightfully easy, sweet and savory dish!Jump to Recipe
It was Easter Sunday and I was recovering from a terrible spring cold. We had no dinner plans, no thawed or fresh meat or seafood, and I was feeling weak, tired and very uninspired. I turned to my iPad and pulled up WordPress Reader and lo and behold, I saw this post The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis on Food In Books blog. Being Easter, and inspired by her writing, I decided I HAD to make her Olive Bread recipe. So, I got out my flour, yeast, and olives and went to work. When I had the yeasty dough rising in my microwave oven, because it was the only place in my kitchen to keep it warm, I felt much better! (I used about 3 1/2 cups flour total. Feeling like I got my mojo back, I went back to thinking about what on earth to do for dinner…
This garlicky, salty skillet bread was amazing. I served it with herbed olive oil that I made with parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Thanks Food In Books, for the inspiration!!!
So I had bread, now what!?
I did a fridge and freezer find and moved on to the pantry. I found 3/4 of an acorn squash, a cooked potato, dried cherries, and it got me thinking STUFFED ACORN SQUASH! All the stuffed acorn squash recipes online called for leftover rice or quinoa, and I didn’t have any of that. I thought of my favorite stuffed acorn squash that my mother makes. It’s by far the BEST acorn squash ever. It’s probably from her old Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s an acorn squash half stuffed with a mixture of brown sugar, butter, lots and lots of butter, cinnamon, pecans, and saltine crackers. It totally takes acorn squash to a dessert level treat. Sooo much butter and brown sugar! I needed something a little healthier.
I recently asked her for the original recipe, since I just guestimate the ingredients. She confessed that there are two pages missing from her Betty Crocker cookbook, and one is the Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe. So sad. Does anyone out there have the original recipe? If so, please email me!
I wanted my squash filled with more nutritious ingredients than the rich butter pecan mixture, so I used the extra squash and mashed it up with some leftover potato. I added chopped pecans, dried cherries, a little salt, pepper, and butter. As much as I tried to keep it more nutritious, I was still heavy handed with the buttery pecan topping. SHAME ON ME!
I kept the topping similar to mom’s, just pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and crushed crackers. I didn’t have saltines, so I added a sprinkle of salt to crushed Ritz crackers. I found some salmon in the freezer and thawed it in the ziptop bag fairly quickly under cold trickling water. I had the grill on, so I put the squash in a dish lined with foil and cooked it over indirect heat. My husband pretty much demands something green, and his favorite is zoodles, so ZOODLES, again.
The squash turned out amazing! I was really worried it wouldn’t be any good, but WOW! I didn’t get enough pictures so I went to the store and got another squash and we ate it again last week for lunch/dinners!
I grilled some jalapeno and leftover herbed olive oil stuffed chicken legs. Yes, the herbed oil is leftover from the olive bread we devoured on Sunday/Monday! I’ll post the recipe if anyone’s is interested.
Here’s my recipe for Cherry and Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash! I hope you enjoy it or modify it to something you like even more! If so, please let us all know how you cooked it!
Pecan & Cherry Stuffed Acorn Squash
For the Squash and Stuffing
- 1 Acorn squash Cooked & cut into 3-4 wedges.
- 1/3 cup Idaho potato Cooked, mashed up.
- 1/4 cup Pecans Coarsely chopped. Lightly toasted if you have time.
- 2 tbsp Dried cherries Coarsely chopped. I love Mariani Cherries.
- 1 1/2 tbsp Butter
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
For the Topping
- 2 tbsp Butter Divided
- 6 Ritz crackers Crushed into small pieces. Saltines will work great, just reduce salt.
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1/2 tbsp Olive oil Extra virgin
- 1/4 cup Pecans Coarsely chopped.
- 1/8 tsp Salt
Prepare the Stuffing
- Hollow out the cooked acorn squash wedges, keeping enough squash integrity to hold up to stuffing & baking. Scoop the squash into a medium bowl.
- Mash up about a 1/3 cup of cooked potato (skin removed) and add it to the bowl of squash.
- Add a sprinkle of salt & pepper to the squash & potato mixture and mash it up until smooth. Warm it in the microwave for about a minute so it’s warmed through and stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter.
- Add 1/4 cup chopped pecans to the squash mixture.
- Coarsely chop the dried cherries and add them all to the squash mixture. Taste for salt. (If it’s a little bland, don’t worry, the nutty, cherry flavors will intensify after it is baked!)
Prepare the Topping
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, crushed crackers, remaining pecans, and 1 tablespoon butter. Microwave for about thirty seconds or until butter melts. Taste, and if needed add a sprinkle of salt.
Stuff the Squash
- Divide the squash stuffing mixture between the acorn squash wedges and lightly pack it down.
- Using half of the remaining butter, dot the tops of the stuffed squash.
Add the Topping
- Top the stuffed squash wedges with the pecan topping, lightly packing it down.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the topping.
- Using the remaining butter, dot the top of the squash filling.
Use an 8×8″ pan, or cast iron pan large enough to hold the squash wedges side by side. Add a couple tablespoons of water to keep the pan from burning.
Bake, broil or grill over indirect heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the top is browned and crunchy. Be very careful when serving. It will stay hot a long time!
- If you have a second acorn squash, you can cook and scoop out the insides and use it with, or instead of the potato.
- I added potato to help fill the inside to discourage myself from filling it with a ton of butter, sugar, buttery crackers and pecans.
- Microwaving or boiling potatoes in their skins makes for a super easy to peel and more flavorful potato!
- If your squash is raw, carefully cut them in half from stem to end, then in half again. Clean out the seeds and innards and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Microwave with a little water, face down for about five-seven minutes, or until soft.)
- Pine Nuts or walnuts would be good also! Toasted nuts would be wonderful if you have the time!
- Dried cranberries are usually served with squash, but I had Mariani cherries!
- TIP: Make a small ring of foil and place it under the acorn squash wedges like pedestals, to hold the halves upright if needed.