Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Apples and Leeks
Acorn squash, which is one of the sweeter varieties of wonderful, versatile vegetable. This Acorn recipe is delicious and easy to put together. Halved squash are perfect individual servings and neatly encompass the rye bread, apple-leek filling. Baking the squash in a bath of broth makes them extra tender and flavorful. If you are throwing any winter holiday party, this would make a great vegetarian side dish for any roasted meat.
When you choose a squash, you need to get the ones that are heavy for their size and have a hard, deep-colored rind free of blemishes or moldy spots. As for pre- bake preparation tip, first cut a little slice off one side so that you have a flat side to stabilize it on while cutting in half. Once the seeds are removed, Acorn squash can be baked, steamed or simmered. They're a good source of iron, riboflavin and vitamins A (more than summer squash) and C.
4 acorn squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced celery
2 leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
10 ounces day-old rustic rye bread—crusts removed, bread cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 6 cups)
7 ounces vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup vegetable stock or low-sodium broth
1.Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and season the cavities with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on two baking sheets and roast for about 25 minutes, until just tender.
2.Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the celery, leeks and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the apples and thyme and cook over moderately high heat until the apples just start to soften, about 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. Add the bread, chestnuts, parsley, cream and stock and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.
3.Turn the squash cut side up. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities and bake until the squash are tender and the stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.
Note: This recipe is from Food & Wine magazine