Whenever I see a beautiful acorn squash I think of autumn, almost as much as when the pumpkins start cropping up everywhere. Pumpkins and all recipes pumpkin related are a literal definition of the September – October timeframe, acorn squash is not as obvious but also a key player in the season. The only problem I find is that the flesh of an acorn squash is super bland and needs a lot of help!
I used to serve the acorn squash steamed and then baked with yummy goodness in the center hole, as if it were a bowl to fill with brown sugar and spices. The only problem I found, was that the kids would scoop out that gooey sweetness and walk away, leaving the actual healthy flesh to be tossed. My solution – thrice baked acorn squash! Using the recipe below I get them to commit, not just to the sugary spicy goodness, but also eating the vegetable as well.
For the cook, baking anything more than once, seems like quite a commitment. However, if you are already slow cooking a roast, or preparing a major meal of any kind, the oven is on already so not a big deal to put the squash in and out a couple of times!
How do you serve acorn squash? Ever make a soup out of it? Share in the comments section below.
1 large acorn squash
salt to taste (you will probably need 1 tsp salt for each squash)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsps butter
1/4 cup or so whole milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half, then use a spoon to remove all of the seeds. Cut the stem off flattening that end, and then cut the point off the other end, also making a flat surface. Your goal is to have them lay flat without causing a whole in the flesh, on the left I went as far down as I could on the stem side without causing a whole in the flesh:
Put water into a baking dish, about 2 inches up the side and cook the acorn squash upside down, face down in the water and cook on the center rack for 40-50 minutes (you want the flesh tender).
Remove the squash from the baking dish carefully with tongs. Pour out the water from the baking dish. Return the squash to the baking dish turned over with the opening up.
Salt the top of the squash. Fill the little nature made bowl with the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and half a tbsp butter in each “bowl”. Place back into the the oven and cook again for 10 more minutes. I used to serve the squash this way until I got sick of the kids avoiding the flesh, now I take it a bit further.
Remove the flesh from both squash and put into a medium bowl. Add the milk and mash with a handheld blender or immersion blender. Return the now mashed flesh back to the acorn shells. Put another half tbsp butter on the top of the flesh and warm through when ready to serve. If you want to serve it right away just warm it through in the oven for 10 minutes.
Taste the flesh for seasoning, you will need to add more salt, and potentially a bit more spice but it is up to you!
Secret: When you go to mash the flesh, the milk will allow you to make it somewhat smooth, but don’t be surprised if it seems stringy. It is similar to a spaghetti squash in the way it has kind of a strange texture. Just move forward with the blending and give it a minute or two then you are as smooth as it will get!
Tip: If you want to serve the acorn squash the next day, put it on a small plate, cover with clear wrap and keep it refrigerated. Heat it up in the oven for 15 minutes the next day, or in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and you are ready to serve.