Monday, November 19, 2012

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Couscous, Leeks and Cherries

This is a  meal all in it's own natural container.  I always get excited when visiting the farmer's market and come home laden with all sorts of various squash but no idea what to do with them, squash is not a native of England, so they're still a bit of a novelty for me. There's a little of everything here, vegetables, whole grains, (as I used wholewheat couscous) meat and a touch of sweet from the cherries and the maple syrup.  I made the stuffing separately and then filled the squash before serving, I think you get a brisker, cleaner taste of all the flavors that way.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage, Couscous, Leeks and Dried Cherries.

2 acorn squash, the tops sliced off and the insides scooped out.
Canola oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

For the stuffing.

1 cup of wholewheat couscous
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup of dried cherries
2-3 Italian sweet sausage, skinned and crumbled
3/4 cup of dry white wine
salt and pepper
fresh sage

Heat the oven to 375 F.

Slice the top off the squash and remove the insides.  Slice a tiny piece off the bottom so the squash stands up straight.

Paint the outside and inside of the squash with canola oil.  Add a tablespoon of maple syrup and a tablespoon of water to the inside of each squash.  Wrap it loosely in aluminum foil.  Place in an oven proof dish and pour 1/2 cup of water in the dish.

Cook for 1-1/2 hours depending on the size of your squash.  It's vital that the squash is thoroughly cooked through and nice and soft.  Chewy squash is not what we're after.

Meanwhile make the stuffing.  Pour the olive oil into a large saute pan, add the onions and a sprinkling of salt.    Cook on a low heat until just caramelizing.

Add the celery, sage and leeks and cook for a further 5 minutes or so.  Remove from the pan.

Crumble the sausage into the pan and break up with a fork.  Cook well until the sausage is browned.  Add the vegetables back along with the white wine and cherries, turn up the heat and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Make the couscous - refer to the packet instructions. When cooked add to the sausage mixture and combine.

When the squash is thoroughly cooked, remove from the oven, carefully remove from the aluminum foil and place on a serving plate.  Spoon the stuffing into the squash, topping with a sprig of sage and a drizzle of maple syrup.


  1. What an attractive dish to serve up and full of good things too. I love the sound of the addition of dried cherries! Different kinds of squash are starting to fill the markets and shops here too and it's so nice to find recipes like this to try them out!

  2. Mmm! Looks delicious. We're squash central down here...pretty much find it on every menu year round. This is a lovely reboot for us :)

  3. This look particularly impressive. I confess I avoid squash because, as you say, they are not something that has been familiar to us. Time to take another look I think.
    Glad you liked the autumn picture, that was one of Freya's; it was the perfect afternoon with the sun shining on the foliage.

  4. Recently I cooked acorn squash in the microwave in about 10 minutes or less. Cut in half, scrape clean, add 2 Tbs water to bottom half (trim bottom if necessary to sit flat) and place the top over it as if it wasn't cut. Zap for 8 minutes on high and test with a knife for doneness. This comes out exactly like baked squash except in a fraction of the time. Inquiring minds want to know!!??!!

  5. I've never cooked an acorn squash but your sure looks pretty! Sounds yummy too! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

  6. I love fillings with sausage, it delivers such good flavor. A fantastic recipe Mary!

  7. Mary thi look wonderful and I love couscous!

  8. the cherries really through me off but in a good way:) I love the addition they add to the dish with a touch of sweetness against the acorn. It just looks delicious and beautiful

  9. I read this recipe you posted a couple hours ago, I went to the market bought what I needed, I have it in the oven as I type! Yummo!

  10. Looks great! And, it's in its own container!

  11. Is this a squash or a container?... You are very creative transforming a squash into a delicious food container :D

  12. oh yummy...have to try the couscous one of these days!

  13. That is so impressive! I actually love acorn squash of all other squashes.

  14. I love all the flavors going on in this recipe and I love acorn squash. This would be a nice side for Thanksgiving or with any fall or winter dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  15. Hi Mary! I love stuffed squash. It's like a one-bowl meal where you can eat most of the bowl. I even think my kiddos would like it as they love couscous.

  16. These are just lovely…and so delicious looking!

  17. I would love it if you would join me in linking up at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick


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