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Reader Recipe: Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you are interested in experimenting with a new type of Fall ingredient, why not try acorn squash? That's what TeamSugar reader llendril did recently. She expertly stuffed the squash with a scrumptious mixture of chicken sausage, black beans, onions, and peppers. The final result was a delicious and divine meal with a gorgeous presentation. These stuffed squash would be a wonderful impromptu dinner party dish! To see how she made them,

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
From reader llendril

My love affair with all things Autumn continues.
Well, all things Autumn save for the clothing. I am at a complete loss when it comes to dressing for cooler weather — and I'm afraid to imagine what will happen come wintertime. I was out shopping today, moseying through stores filled with sweaters and coats and scarves (oh my!). The only thing I could think to do? Head to the back, to the sale racks, to the tank tops. I bought a tank top today. It should really do me well, oh, six months from now.

But you are probably here to read about food. So I will get to that now.
I am at least adapting well to the changing of seasons as far as the kitchen is concerned. This time around, I decided to try acorn squash — a variety I have never eaten before.

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted from Eating Well magazine, October 2007

1 acorn squash
2 ounces chicken sausage, sweet Italian style
1/3 small onion, chopped
1/4 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
5 ounces canned black beans, rinsed
pinch of salt
1/3 cup shredded light jarlsberg

1) preheat oven to 375°. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray
2) cut squash in half horizontally. scoop out and discard seeds. place squash cut-side down on baking sheet and bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until tender
3) meanwhile, coat a skillet with cooking spray. heat over medium heat
4) add sausage and cook about 3 to 5 minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon
5) add onion and bell pepper. cook, stirring often, about 3 to 5 minutes
6) stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin. cook about 30 seconds
7) stir in tomatoes, beans, and salt
8 ) cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes, until tomatoes are broken down
9) remove squash from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325°
10) fill squash halves with sausage mixture. top with cheese. place on baking sheet (cut-side up) and bake until filling is heated and cheese melts, about 10 minutes

I had a really good feeling about this recipe. I knew that I would love it, and it certainly did not disappoint. The sweetness of the squash married quite well with the slight spiciness of the filling (the original recipe calls for hot sauce, which I omitted). The entire dish felt warm and hearty — very comforting, in that respect — and yet is still quite good for you. I love cooking with black beans (and that love only intensified once they made the list of eight foods you should eat every day) and this was a fantastic way to combine them with the very autumn-y squash. Not much else to say about this one except for it's delicious. enjoy! and I look forward to blogging about more fall-inspired recipes soon!

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