Wild Trumpet Vine is no food blog, and I’m no foodie. But I do cook regularly, and my family generally appreciates my efforts. My squash-hating husband had a business dinner the other night, so it seemed like a good opportunity to cook the acorn squash the squirrels had provided. It turned out well, and I think it merits a post.
Like my husband, I used to have a squash aversion. Growing up, winter squash was rarely served at our family table. Sautéed zucchini and yellow summer squash with onions and tomatoes was a summer stand-by, but we tended to view the winter varieties as purely decorative. Unseasoned, unsalted squash was a a staple, though, at a friend’s house. Every time I stayed for dinner, it seemed, it was on the menu. Knowing it wasn’t my favorite, my friend enjoyed squirting the mushy stuff between the gap in her teeth, pre-braces.
It’s not surprising, then, that with the exception of butternut squash for soup, I’ve avoided most of the cold-weather varieties. Until earlier this fall, I had never cooked acorn squash, nor even considered cooking it. Now I know what I’ve been missing. It’s a far remove from the bland, gooey stuff I recall from childhood. One acorn squash, sliced in half and baked, yields two perfect, scallop-edged, edible bowls that beg for some sort of filling.
Here’s how I cooked that squash:
I trimmed the ends to create a level surface, then sliced the squash in half. I drizzled the halves with olive oil, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I put them in a glass baking dish and added about an inch of water to the bottom. I cooked the squash in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes.
While the squash was cooking, I made a simple stuffing, using what we had on hand. In a cast-iron skillet, I sautéed an onion in olive oil until not quite caramelized. I added baby bella mushrooms and bell pepper, chopped. A further exploration of the crisper drawer yielded one last zucchini and some flat-leaf parsley. I chopped and added these. For a bit of filler, I rustled up some bread crumbs from a toasted hot dog bun. (We were otherwise out of bread.) I added a little chicken broth, some sage and ground pepper and let it all simmer until the squash was done. Just before serving, I filled the squash with the stuffing mixture.
My daughter, a more adventurous eater than her father, appreciated the look and taste of the squash and its stuffing. We both enjoyed the attractive practicality of the edible bowl. It’s a remedy for erasing decades of bad squash memories. I’d like to say it might even work for my husband. But that might be going a bit too far.
Thanks again, squirrels!