Still wondering about that other side you will make for Thanksgiving dinner? This one will do. Hard winter squash, sliced open, baked until the cheerful inside is creamy, and stuffed with grains, apples, and leeks. It makes quite a few servings and looks beautiful on the table, right in between the turkey and cranberries.
I’ve made this three times already just to get the flavors right. The key is to add ginger and cinnamon to the filling; it complements the rich squash and zingy apples without overpowering it.
For a sweeter version, I used butternut squash for that ooh-aah creamy flavor. For the savory side, I used a new kind for me: baby blue hubbard squash. Not baby blue in color, but baby, as in small, blue hubbard. I like it a lot; the texture was very smooth and the flavor was nutty and sweet.
My dear sister Megan was visiting when I made this squash the first time around. It was a much needed vacation for her. We sat around marvelling over how tasty winter squash is, and talked about other things we like to cook. The day she left was close to 70 degrees and we sat outside at a cafe, drinking lattes and reading magazines. It was so relaxing.
I hope you have a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving!
1 medium sized butternut squash, cut lengthwise in half and seeded
Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until soft
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup butter
Mix together in bowl. Spoon as much as you can into the butternut squash halves. Bake the squash for 15 minutes longer, with the extra cranberry mixture in a separate pan.
Apple Leek Winter Squash
Serves 8-10 sides
1 winter squash with a large cavity, such as baby blue hubbard, blue hubbard, or acorn
Slice in half lengthwise, and scoop out seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes until soft.
1/4 cup butter
2 leeks, pale green and white parts only, rinsed and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 apples, cored and diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
black pepper to taste
Sautee leeks in butter over medium low heat until soft and fragrant. Add garlic, apples and spices and sautee a few minutes longer.
2 cups cooked brown rice
Parmesan cheese, optional
Stir brown rice into apple leek mixture. Spoon into squash halves, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake about 15 minutes longer.
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