Squash, another Thanksgiving staple is usually roasted, mashed and served up relatively unadorned, but Tracey Medeiros’ Dishing Up Vermont adds wild mushrooms, onion, sage – and yes, cranberries, to take the standard in a different direction.
Acorn Squash with Wild Mushroom Cranberry Stuffing: (serves 2)
1 (about 1.5 pounds) acorn squash halved lengthwise, seeded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dried cranberries or currants
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces fresh wild mushrooms such as shitake, stemmed and chopped
¼ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried sage
¾ cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Place squash cut side down in an 8- by 8- by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave squash on high 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. With a sharp knife, very carefully cut plastic to let steam escape. Remove plastic wrap and discard. Using a pair of tongs, turn squash halves cut side up. Season cavities with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Place cranberries in a small bowl and add ¼ cup hot water; soak 15 to 20 minutes to soften the fruit. Drain and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and sage, and cook and stir until the vegetable mixture begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the crumbs become lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the cranberries and soaking liquid, stirring well until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Mound stuffing into the squash halves, and dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake until heated through and crisp on top, about 10 minutes.