The opportunity presented itself yesterday in the form of delicata squash from our CSA. Delicata are from the winter squash family and have orange flesh and yellow skin with green stripes. They are the easiest winter squash to work with (easy to cut, and don’t require peeling), and are some of the sweetest and most flavorful. I roasted them first to get as much flavor out of these little pumpkin cousins as possible, then stuffed them with a mix of ground meats, cranberries, and some other stuff. All I can say is “Yum!” We opened a nice bottle of Barbera d’Alba and something about this meal made me feel like fall in Piedmont. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was ground veal (something I don’t often cook). But it had that warmth and simple pleasure of good home cooking.
Delicata Squash Stuffed with Meats and Cranberries
Note: You can use any ground meat for this dish. The more types you mix together, the more complex the flavor will be. Avoid lean meats. They’ll make your stuffing too dry.
3 delicata squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Stuffing:
1 Lb ground meat (some mix of beef, pork, veal, lamb)
2 diced yellow onions, cooked slowly in oil until golden brown
2 minced garlic cloves
2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp chopped thyme, sage, or rosemary
1/2 cup dry cranberries
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp kosher salt (start with 1tsp and add more as needed)
1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 475F and set the racks in the lower third and middle positions.
- Cut squash into 1 inch rings and scoop out the seeds.
- Spread squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub the squash to coat it all over with oil and seasoning. Place the squash rings wide side down (if they have a wide side -- some rings will come out perfectly even). Roast in the lower third of the oven until the bottom of squash rings browns, about 15 minutes.
- While squash is roasting, mix all ingredients for the stuffing together. Cook a tiny piece of stuffing in the oven, skillet, or microwave and taste for salt. The stuffing should have the salt level of sausage, so don’t be too delicate with your seasoning. Add more salt as needed. Stuffing can be prepared a day in advance and stored covered in the fridge.
- Flip the squash and stuff with the meat mixture. The stuffing should stick out of the squash.
- Turn down the oven to 400F.
- Bake squash in the middle of the oven until the top of stuffing browns slightly, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately, or cool completely, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat in 375F oven for 20 minutes.