Winter is coming… in the form of squash!
Winter squash and/or pumpkin season is well and truly upon us. Cue pumpkin pie and Instagrammed lattes with incorrectly spelt names.
I’m talking to you Pawl!
When it comes to these knobbly skinned winter wonders it’s definitely a case of what’s on the inside that counts. Protein packed seeds that taste IMMENSE when roasted (if you can be bothered to separate them from their rather clingy counterpart that is) delicate fleshy orangey stuff that forms the basis of all the pumpkin desserts, and the crunchy goodness around the outside (round the outside, round the outside) that is so devilishly carved when it comes to Halloween.
I give you the humble pumpkin. And winter squash.
Now, things can get creative when it comes to pumpkin. We’ve got (bear with me here, I’ve used some experimental verbs) roasted, toasted, mashed, smashed, boiled, broiled, spiced, riced, fried, pied, souped, stewed and now STUFFED.
Yes, that’s right people, stuffed pumpkin. Well, squash.
This recipe began when I picked up some acorn squash from the market. I had no idea what to do with them at first, I mean I didn’t even know what they were when I bought them, but they looked so knobbly and cool (ha!) that I carried them home in a little brown paper bag anyway.
After a quick google, I sat on the sofa and thought long and hard about what to do with the scrummy pumpkins (squash). It went a bit like this:
Butternut squash and sage risotto.
Mmmmm sausage meat stuffing.
VEGETARIAN sausage meat stuffing..?
Stuffed in a squash.
Sausage and veggie sausage stuffed squash, with sage.
I wanted this recipe to be accessible to all so whether you’re veggie or not, these sausage stuffed squash (squashes?) are the perfect autumn dinner, especially when served alongside a big pile of greens.
You can use pretty much any sausage and pretty much any squash – the principle stays the same. Roast, stuff, devour.
- 4 good quality sausages with a high percentage of pork, skins removed
- 4 good quality vegetarian sausages – I used Linda McCartney
Plus the following
- 2 squash (1 per person) – I used acorn but you could use two small delicatas or 1 butternut squash halved
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Small handful fresh sage, chopped
- Sprig of fresh rosemary
- 50g breadcrumbs
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: half a large bramley apple, chopped into small chunks OR a handful of dried apricots, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Chop the top off of each acorn squash and scoop out the insides (save for later!) Coat the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the skin is hard and the insides soft.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
- For the pork sausages – add the meat to the pan and, using a couple of wooden spatulas, break up the meat so it resembles mince. Cook until bronzed and heated through. Set aside.
- For the vegetarian sausages – if cooking from frozen, you can either heat gently in the pan until they’re soft enough to break up, or alternatively cook them in the oven as per the packet instructions and break up afterwards. Cook until bronzed and heated through. Set aside.
- Add another tbsp oil to the pan and fry off the onions for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic, fresh sage and rosemary sprig, plus a good grind of salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the breadcrumbs and fry for a couple of minutes more. If using apple or apricot, add these in with the breadcrumbs.
- Remove the squash from the oven and stuff each one with half of the sausage mix, making sure to remove the rosemary sprig from the pan. Pop back into the oven for a further 5-10 minutes or until fully heated through.
Serve with a big pile of greens as a main or top with rocket for a light lunch.