In our home, the onset of fall means two things. For me, duck hunting. For my wife, pumpkin products. A lot of pumpkin products. While all of this has certainly caused me to lose my taste for pumpkin, I’m still a big fan of squash. Acorn squash is one of my favorites. Combine that acorn squash with duck, top it off with apples, and you’ve got a perfect fall dish.
While this meal is as simple as they come, it absolutely delivers at the dinner table and makes a perfect centerpiece for a crisp autumn evening.
2 acorn squash
1 lb duck sausage (or any sausage)
2 small apples or 1 large apple
1 cup gouda cheese
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 cup bread crumbs (plain)
Start by splitting the squash in half and scooping out all of the seeds to create two bowls. Be careful not to cut the bottom too deep as this will leave you with a hole in the bottom of your bowl. My new Hunt to Eat Kai Housewares Chef Knife and cutting board handled this task with ease. Drizzle with olive oil, place on a cooking sheet, and bake at 400° for 50 to 60 minutes or until fork tender.
While your squash is in the oven, take that time to prep the rest of your ingredients. Chop your apples and onions, grate your gouda, then dice your garlic and set aside. Bring a skillet to temperature over medium heat and add your sausage. When fully cooked, remove the sausage and add your chopped onion. Cook until translucent. Then, add the diced garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Now add your chopped apple and cook until soft (but not mushy).
In a mixing bowl, add your sausage, apple onion mixture, bread crumbs and gouda. Be sure to leave behind enough gouda to top the bowls when stuffed. Mix throughly and salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the acorn squash bowls from the oven and, once cooled enough to handle, pack a heaping amount of the sausage mixture into each half squash. Top with the remaining gouda and bake for thirty minutes at 350.
While it might not be pumpkin, acorn squash and apple are seasonal, sausage never falls out of fashion, and my wife loves it. Warm melty gouda combined with the sweet apples, spicy sausage, and nutty squash, especially when served with a good brown ale, will warm up a cool fall evening in the best kind of way.