I’m home alone this Thanksgiving, and I was supposed to go to a Post-Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, but I’m not doing that, either. I’ve broken my tibia, and cannot drive, and to be honest, most homes aren’t really handicapped accessible when it comes to things like entry, exiting, or using the john. I’m fine with being home alone — I have a phone or two, and the Internet to e-mail with. And… I can still cook, with some limitations.
Mind you, for a good portion of the broken leg to date, I had minimal appetite. One day I think the only thing I ate was an apple. Another day — the day of the surgery where they set the bone, put in a plate and whatever pins — I consumed a slice and a half of pizza. That was it.
But I really want something that reminds me of Thanksgiving meals this Thanksgiving. Since I already had Delicata squash, I figured it would be absolute fun to stuff it. I did have to order in the sweet potato and the cranberries, but all other items were here already. My goal is to make a good vegetarian side (or main!) without added sugars.
One great feature about Delicata squash is that you can eat the exterior. Less muss, little fuss! That and its flavor have turned this particular winter squash into my favorite.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 + 30 minutes
Rest time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4 or more
STUFFED DELICATA SQUASH
- 1 medium-sized delicata squash
- 1 large sweet potato, sliced about 1 inch
- 1/2 medium onion (white or yellow…) peeled and coarsely diced.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons cooking oil or fat (avocado, olive, coconut, butter, ghee… your choice. I used avocado.)
- 1 medium/large apple, cored and diced, about 1/4 inch pieces.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/3 teaspoon or so ground cardamom (or you can use nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice at your whim).
- salt and pepper to taste
- dusting of allspice for garnish (or, cinnamon)
- 1 scallion, chopped
Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut the ends off the squash, then slice the squash through lengthwise, being certain that the bottom of the slices will be able to lie flat. Remove seeds and reserve for another purpose. Place both pieces, hollow side up, in a baking pan.
Prepare the sweet potato, onion and garlic — for the garlic remove most of the peel. Place the sweet potato, onion and garlic in one layer on the same pan as the delicata. Keep note as to the location of the garlic. Add oil — about two teaspoons — to coat all the veggies.
Cover, and place in oven, and roast for 25-30 minutes. Remove the pan and remove the squash to a separate plate. Return the other veggies (still covered) to the oven for another 20 minutes.
Remove pan, and allow to cool until you can handle the veggies.
For the sweet potato: peel off skin and discard.
For the garlic: squeeze out the paste from the peel and add to the sweet potato.
For the onion: cut or tear into smaller pieces.
Add the cardamom, salt and pepper to the sweet potato, and mash the sweet potato, using a fork or one of those potato mashers, until you have a nice paste. Be sure that the onion and garlic get incorporated — the onion won’t mash, but it will be incorporated as small bits into this.
Add the cranberries and apples, and mix lightly but completely.
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Stuff the squash. Let it heap on up, and make certain a good number of cranberries are in the stuffing. Put the stuffed squash into your baking pan.
You will have extra stuffing. You may have planned ahead and prepared to stuff a second squash, or you can set the extra on the side of the pan, and cook it by itself — which in my case was the more practical choice anyway.
You can add the allspice garnish now, or after cooking. (I added this before this final cooking run.)
Allow to cook uncovered for 30 minutes — portions of the stuffing will brown slightly.
Remove from oven, allow the meal to rest for 5 minutes. You can cut the stuffed delicata further into portions (halves or whatever) depending on how much else you’ll be serving. The extra stuffing is excellent in its own right, too. Scatter the optional scallion/green onion segments over the dish.
This dish re-heats fine.
NOTE: those seeds — you can reserve them for planting in the spring, or you can treat then like pumpkin seeds for a tasty snack. Keep your eyes open as I will soon be posting on the seed preparation option.