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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serve this hearty side dish alongside roasted pork or the holiday turkey. It also makes a delicious vegetarian entrée, paired with a tossed green salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2-lb. loaf country-style bread, cut into
      3/4-inch cubes
  • 6 acorn squashes, each about 1 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup chopped assorted fresh herbs, such
      as sage, thyme and oregano
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.

Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the bread is dry and crispy, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the bread cool completely. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.

Cut the stem end off each squash. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center and discard. Cut a thin slice off the bottom end of each squash to create a level surface. Season the squash cavities with salt and pepper. Stand the squashes upright in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the nutmeg and the assorted fresh herbs. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the bread. Add the parsley and cranberries and stir to combine. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the stock. Spoon the stuffing into the squash cavities, mounding a small amount on the top.

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup stock into the baking dish. Bake until the squashes are tender when pierced with a fork and the stuffing is browned, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. If the stuffing begins to brown too quickly, cover the squashes loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the squashes from the oven, drizzle each with 1 tsp. olive oil and serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.