Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash – it’s a Fall on a plate; Turkey with Apples, Cranberries and dried Thyme stuffed in a sweet Acorn Squash makes for irresistible combination of fall flavors.
Ok, so that’s not by any means European dish. It screams American and actually screams: American fall. I love all the flavors of this season: pumpkins, squashes, apple sider, turkey etc. Even though I am trying to share my heritage on this blog, I cannot simply disregard this wonderful season and not share something that I recently developed and it’s out of this world – my Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash.
Few weeks ago we drove to the east of Long Island to spend half a day on the farms, get a pumpkin, apples and whatever else we could have found. Our aunt, who lives around there and knows me and my unconditinal love for fresh, good quality food, had the entire itinerary for us.
First stop on her list was a huge farm stand. You could get there anything you wanted. So, we all got separated. Everyone went to buy their own produce and when we met by the car, I was asked what did I get. I simply replied: everything… I mean everything: white cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, different kinds of squashes…. etc. I cannot even remember what else was in my basket. But one of the squashes was the Acorn Squash.
I’m very comfortable with Butternut Squash. I absolutely love it and cook it often. You can check one of my favorites butternut squash recipes: Truffled Butternut Squash and Mushroom Soup. I have never cooked with Acorn Squash, though.
Except for summer squashes, like zucchinis, the winter squashes are not very popular in Poland. Maybe they are right now, but for sure I did not know them when I was growing up. And because I do love trying new things and pushing my comfortable buttons, I decided to tackle this amazing vegetable (or should I said fruit, as it technically is fruit because of its seeds). I knew I could roast it and I knew I could stuff it. That’s how my Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash was born.
One night I told my husband that I wanted to make this squash, stuffed with turkey. It didn’t resonate well with him. He told me that, “again, I am turning him into vegan”. The fact that it was filled with meat didn’t matter. What was important is that I was serving the WHOLE veggie for him and this were supposed to be a star of the night.
Even though he likes to complaint about vegetables, I usually do what I have planed to do. So, I served it. He took the first bite. And there was a silence. And then he looked at me and said: “do never do that to me again…and that’s all I’m gonna say”. He was simply speechless. That’s how amazing my Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash was.
Ever since this dinner, my husband kept telling me: “you need to put it on the blog”, “you need to put it on the blog”. And this weekend, he said it again, “please make this acorn squash dish and post it”. It’s AMAZING and the season is here.
So, here we come. It was our dinner last night and it was pretty spectacular. It takes some time, just because the squash needs to roast, but it is very simple. Once you cut the squash and remove the seeds, it needs to be brushed with olive oil, seasoned and baked for an hour.
In the meantime, you need to make the stuffing. First brown the turkey meat, then took it out and in the same pan saute some onions with dried thyme and celery. The fragrance will be amazing already, add apples, dried cranberries and put the meat back to the pan. Cook it for a while, add breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and you’re done. Season with salt and pepper and wait for your squash to be done roasting.
Field the squash with the turkey staffing and place it back in the oven for another 15 minutes and your incredible Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash is ready to be consumed. Enjoy 🙂
Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 large Acorn Squash or 2 small ones , cut in the half
- 1 lbs of ground turkey
- 1/2 large , yellow onions, chopped
- 1 celery stalk , chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 apple , peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon of plain bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon concentrated chicken stock (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt
- 3 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper for taste
Preheat the oven to 400 F
Cut the bottom and the top of the squash to have flat surfaces on both sides
Cut the squash in the middle (vertically)
Using a spoon scoop out all the seeds
Brush both halfs of the squash with olive oil, season with garlic salt and pepper
Place the squash in the oven and roast for 50 min to 1 hour
In the meantime heat up another tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet
Add turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is cooked through
Remove the meat from the pan
Add some more olive oil
Add onions and dried thyme and cook until the onion is translucent (5 minutes)
Add celery, apple and cranberries and cook for another 3-4 minutes
Return the meat to the pan
Add chicken concentrate, salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes
Add breadcrumbs and cheese
Stir everything well and check for seasoning
Fill out the squash with the meat stuffing
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Recipe NotesI used one big Acorn Squash and I ended up with a little bit of meat stuffing left out. If you have smaller squash you may want o use 2 small once instead of one big squash.
If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these fall favorites:
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Truffled Butternut Squash and Mushroom Soup
- Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Candid Pecans, Craisins and Chives
- Leftover Turkey Soup
- Leftover Turkey Spanish Rice
- Maple Mustard Glazed Turkey
- Sourdough Mushrooms Leeks and Bacon Stuffing