The holidays are here and the perfect accompaniment to your turkey or ham is Acorn Squash with Cranberries. This dish gets it's sweetness from maple syrup and brown sugar. It gets it tang from fresh cranberries. This dish is not super sweet and the cranberries remain tart and pucker-worthy.
Acorn squash is a mild flavored winter squash, is low in calories, and packed with various nutrients, especially high in vitamin C. It has an acorn-like shape with ridged skin that can vary in color from dark green to white. It is a versatile vegetable, actually a gourd, which can be used in savory and sweet recipes, like my delicious Autumn Pie.
TIP: The hard skin makes it a bit tricky (and scary) to peel with a knife, but a good sharp peeler works. My preference is to cut it into wedges, thick like pictured or thinner, and cook it with the peel on. The meat can easily be scooped out or you can the remove the cooked peel and cube the flesh. It can also be roasted whole with a few knife stabs through the skin to allow the steam to escape. You can then cut it and use the flesh.
My Acorn Squash with Cranberries features a sweet concoction of maple, cinnamon and butter pored over the top before baking and finished with roasted pecans.
- 1 acorn squash
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg (use ¼ tsp ground nutmeg)
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp maple syrup (real)
- 1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Quarter the acorn squash and remove seeds and strings with a sharp edged spoon. Place the pieces on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Use wadded up pieces of foil to keep the wedges upright.
- Add the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and maple syrup to a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Fill the squash well with cranberries and sprinkle on the nuts. Pour the maple butter over the cranberries and nuts and brush the cut edges of squash.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil, baste with the pan drippings and continue to bake until the the squash is fork-tender about 30 minutes.
- Serve with any remaining pan drippings poured over the yop.