With fall just a few days away and change in the air, I decided it was time to cook our first fresh winter squash of the season. I was hesitant to buy it at first because it’s still a tad early for winter squash, but Jesse convinced me otherwise. The weather actually hasn’t been fall-like here yet, aside from the mornings, but we’re still getting temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s. I’m totally okay with it though. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall, but I’ll take as much summer as I can get! September and October are generally really nice out here, but the cold and rain will be upon us soon enough.
One aspect of fall that’s already apparent is the shorter daylight hours. This is making it difficult to take photos in the evening, after I’ve cooked dinner, and getting a halfway decent photo of this squash dish was quite challenging. I always try and opt for natural light whenever possible and detest how my pictures look indoors, but as the daylight hours continue to get shorter, I’ll probably just have to deal with it or figure something else out.
Anyway, I knew I wanted to stuff the squash with a mixture of apples, ground meat with sausage spices, and onion. I had a wonderful visual in my head and flavor in my mouth, and lucky for me, it turned out pretty darn close to what I envisioned. That rarely happens.
For the squash:
- 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place squash face down in a little bit of water, either on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, flip the squash over and fill each cavity with 1 Tbsp of grass-fed butter and sea salt and pepper to taste. Place back in oven for 30 more minutes or until squash is tender when poked with a knife. Note: if squash is done before the harvest mixture, keep it in the oven to stay warm.
For the harvest sausage mixture:
- 1/2 – 1 tsp bacon fat
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 lb dark meat ground turkey
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground sage
- 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 15 – 20 grinds of fresh black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1 gala apple, chopped
- 2 cups green kale, torn into mid-size pieces
- Heat the bacon fat in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook a few minutes. Then add in the meat and all the sausage spices. Mix well to make sure all the spices get well incorporated. Alternatively, before adding the meat to the pan, you can place it in a bowl with the spices and mix it all together with your hands. This will ensure that all the spices get more evenly distributed.
- As the meat browns, break up the big chunks with a spatula. Once meat is close to done, add in the apple and mix well.
- After a few minutes, stir in the kale and a bit more sea salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
- Once done, scoop into each squash cavity and serve.