Saturday, October 30, 2010
Cornbread Dressing Stuffed Acorn Squash
I've been on a serious corn bread making spree lately. With the changing weather, there have been several batches of corn bread turned out to accompany all the chili and other Southwestern-style soups I've been inspired to make. Unfortunately (or fortunately, in this case), that has meant lots of leftover cornbread.
Even with Jay enjoying some of the leftovers in a bowl with milk, I still had plenty to spare. Trying to be economical, I just threw the leftover chunks in the freezer and when I had enough, I was excited to try out this recipe for stuffed squash. I had seen it in one of my favorite Cooking Light cookbooks. We had it as a meatless main dish for dinner the other night, but I think it would make a really beautiful accompaniment to Thanksgiving, especially if you have a vegetarian at your table!
I think my boys would say they would have been happy without the squash (they don't like squash anyway, so I don't know if they're the best ones to ask. I personally thought it was a great combination), but everyone agreed that the cornbread dressing was a hit. If you're wanting to skip a step and share my family's opinion about squash, you might just do the dressing as a side dish.
Corn Bread Dressing Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) leftover cornbread (see recipe below)
non stick cooking spray
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
1 cup finely diced carrot
1 cup finely diced celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth for a not entirely vegetarian option)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped toasted pecans
salt and pepper to taste
Spread corn bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, turning twice or until cornbread is toasted. Set aside.
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. Coat squash with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast, face down in a baking dish for 20 minutes. Set aside.
Pour boiling water over dried cranberries and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Drain water.
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add celery, carrot, garlic and poultry seasoning. Saute 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cornbread cubes, cranberries and broth to skillet and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into halved squash (about 1 1/2 cups of dressing per squash). Arrange stuffed side up in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until squash is tender (a tip of a knife will pierce the squash easily) and dressing is browned.
My Favorite Cornbread Recipe (inspired by Betty Crocker)
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter butter, divided
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 tablespoons butter in a baking dish (round cake pan-size, or a square 8x8 size, or a cast iron skillet). Allow butter to melt in dish (watch closely so it doesn't burn) while preparing corn bread batter. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat milk and egg in a large bowl with a beater. Melt remaining butter and stir into wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Remove pan from the oven and swirl butter around the sides to make sure the pan is evenly greased. Pour prepared batter into the baking dish (preheating the dish and melting the butter will make for a really fantastic buttery crust after it's baked!). Spread evenly in the dish and return to the oven baking for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm if desired or let cool to cube for the dressing.