Baked Acorn Squash with Sausage "Stuffing"
Squash is the perfect vessel for this gluten-free, whole-food stuffing!
- 1 medium acorn squash halved
- 1 pound ground pork sausage mild (I use local sausage from a farmer's market or Jimmy Dean's "natural" breakfast sausage)
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- 4 stalks celery chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 medium apples unpeeled and chopped
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
Brush acorn squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and place cut side down on one end of a baking sheet. Toss sweet potato with 1 T olive oil and salt and spread on remaining area of baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
While squash is cooking, prepare the stuffing. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat in cast iron skillet (or you can use butter or olive oil) and heat over medium-high heat. Add celery, onions, and apples. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring, until onions are translucent.
Add pork sausage and cook until almost completely browned. Remove sausage mixture to a large bowl and cool.
Beat eggs and add to slightly cooled sausage mixture, along with sweet potatoes, pecans and cranberries.
Stuff each half of the acorn squash with as much stuffing as possible. Spread remaining stuffing on baking sheet next to squash. Bake 20 minutes or until everything is slightly browned and acorn squash is soft when pricked with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The gluten-free, grain-free sausage "stuffing" tastes surprising like traditional poultry stuffing, even without any bread in it! Sausage often has sage in it, so I think that's an important flavor to evoke the stuffing nostalgia.
You can skip the squash and place all of this on a baking sheet and serve in a bowl. And my husband came up with a fantastic use for the leftovers when we were low on eggs one morning...he added the leftover sausage stuffing to scrambled eggs for a "holiday breakfast hash"--so yummy!