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I'm feeling very fall, so I thought that Baked Butternut Squash Stuffed with Sausage and Apples (p. 309 and p. 533). It was a rather complicated recipe with a lot of steps and that produced a lot of dirty dishes. I will also admit--the more complicated the recipe, the more attractive it is to make when I'm trying to avoid studying for a big Biochemistry-type test!
There are two pieces to this recipe--the squash and the stuffing are made and then combined. The stuffing is a variation of the basic bread stuffing that I've made before (for Thanksgiving).
The bread is toasted--I'm pretty sure that my bread wasn't in the half-inch cubes that it was supposed to be but close enough.
A pound of bulk pork sausage is browned. The recipe says 8-10 minutes but after about four minutes, my pork started burning! There was almost no fat in my sausage! That was pretty disappointing but I thought the sausage was still acceptable.
Peeled Granny Smith apples were diced and cooked until tender--I love cooked apples so these looked great! I added a little bit of vegetable oil because there was almost no fat and I was worried about the apples burning.
First, a stick of butter is melted--a great start to any recipe!
Onion and celery is added to the butter (the typical Joy recipe start). Spices are added--parsley, sage, thyme, salt pepper, nutmeg, and cloves. Before the spices are added, the combination of colors is incredibly beautiful--after, they get pretty dingy.
The celery/onion/spice mixture is then mixed with the bread. I always try to be careful at this point because it seems like you could smash up the cubes into crumbs.
The apples and sausage are then folded in--looks like about the right amount! I added some chicken stock to moisten it, but did not add any egg (which makes the stuffing more stiff).
The butternut squash are split and the seeds and strings are dug out. I HATE splitting butternut squash--I seem to never be able to get the job done! That will be solved when I eventually get my cleaver. And these particular butternut squash were also *ahem* amusingly shaped *ahem*. They barely fit in my glass pan!
The squash look pretty much the same, even when they are cooked:
The squash are then supposed to be hollowed out, leaving a 3/8 inch shell. Now THAT is a bizarre distance--why not a quarter inch or a half inch? The entrails of the squash are added to the stuffing and stirred as to break up the squash "as little as possible". Why? Why does it matter if the squash is broken up? The stuffing is loaded into the squash, brown sugar sprinkled on top, and little dots of butter all over....
But uh oh! There is WAY too much stuffing for those four little squash halves...
I figured a little extra would be fine! Who doesn't like stuffing? And the final product was fairly attractive!
So how were they? Really good! I love butternut squash and it was sweet (squash, brown sugar, and apples) juxtaposed with the savory (sausage). I love stuffing! And Josh happily ate some of the extra stuffing (he's not a big winter squash fan). I think these would freeze and reheat really well, if you went on a cooking binge.