Last year, when I took the a food photography class at Kitchen Conservatory here in St. Louis, I tried a magical combination that, unbelievably, I’d never had – Brussels sprouts and bacon. Here’s the Autumn Panzanella salad that inspired everything:
Not only is it beautiful and visually representative of autumn but, oh, the bacon. Bacon is magical (we all know that), but when you cook veggies in the drippings left behind, you create a unity – a partnership between meat and vegetable that can’t be explained without simply taking a bite.
I wanted to take this salad to a whole new level. I received acorn squash in our CSA share two weeks ago now, and they’ve been mocking me ever since. “You don’t know how to use me!” they’d scream from the countertop. I swear I heard one shout in the middle of the night: “Roast me, I dare you!”
I couldn’t take the taunting any more, so I scooped out their insides, stuffed them, and baked them for over an hour!
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Keywords: bake saute roast entree side gluten-free Thanksgiving fall
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 4 small/medium acorn squash
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
- 1/2 pound bacon, diced
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add quinoa and 2 cups water (or chicken broth) to a small pot and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Fluff with fork and set aside.
Meanwhile, slice the top off the acorn squash (set aside; do not throw away!) and remove seeds and fibers from inside. Slice a small layer off the bottom of the squash so they stand up independently. Coat the outside of each squash with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove and set onto paper towel-lined dish to drain. Add shallot and garlic to pan with bacon drippings and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and toss with bacon drippings, cooking until just soft (about 5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
Toss Brussels sprouts mixture with bacon and quinoa. Add cheese. Spoon mixture into each acorn squash, pressing down and adding more mixture until full. Place tops on each squash and place onto foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 60 minutes, until squash is easily pierced with a knife.
Also, the smell? You will never need another fall-scented candle. You will never want to shut off your oven with this smell floating through your house.
Question – What are your favorite fall tastes?