Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage

November 11, 2012

Thanksgiving is never at our home.  Each year we alternate between my and my husband’s parents’ homes.  This holiday is decidedly my favorite.  I love the cool weather, the rustling of leaves, the family crammed into the kitchen to gossip, stir, and sip.   And of course the food.  Each of the homes we visit have special dishes that we love, but since each year we miss one of the homes, I like to make our favorites ahead of time so we do not miss out.

Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage recipe is a take on my family’s traditional Thanksgiving stuffing.  My parents have hosted Thanksgiving every year for my entire life (and longer). Each year they put on an impressive spread with many mouth-watering dishes, but my favorite is by far the rice stuffing.   Inspired by their once neighbors and long-time friends, my parents early on shunned the bread stuffings they were raised on and adopted a rice version of the dish.  Wild rice baked along with flavorful Italian sausage, fresh vegetables and herbs to make a tasty, toothsome (not to mention gluten-free) side dish.  This stuffing is delicious baked in the bird or baked in a greased casserole dish, but love the look and taste of baking it in delicata squash halves.  It also makes for very tidy serving.  The stuffing can be made ahead a day or two and kept covered in the refrigerator or a couple of weeks ahead and kept in the freezer.  Wait to stuff the squash halves until the day of baking.  One of the squash boats is a generous serving, perfect if it is your main side dish. If you are serving it with many side dishes, such as on Thanksgiving, they neatly cut in half.

Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage

serves 6

3 small delicata squash

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup dry wild rice blend

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 pound Italian sausage (chicken or pork)

1 cup small-diced onion

1 cup small-diced celery

1 clove garlic

3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/3 cup white wine

1 handful parsley, minced

1 egg, lightly beaten

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the delicata squash down the middle lengthwise.  Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane.  Save the seeds to roast!   Set the squash boats aside.

Bring the chicken broth to boiling in a small pot.  Add 1 teaspoon salt and the wild rice.  Return to boiling, then cover and turn down to simmer until the rice has absorbed all the broth.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Meanwhile in a large pan,  heat the olive oil until it shimmers, then add the Italian sausage.  Cook while breaking up with a spoon until the sausage begins to brown and is no longer pink on the inside.  Add the onion, celery, garlic, and poultry seasoning.  Cook until the vegetables soften, but do not brown.  Pour the white wine over the pan and stir to deglaze the pan.  Stir in the wild rice and  parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix in the beaten egg.

Lay the squash halves open side up on a greased baking sheet.  Prick the insides multiple times with a fork.  Generously season the inside of the squash with salt and pepper.

Scoop the stuffing mixture into the prepared squash halves.  Press the mixture into the hollows and neatly mound over the top.  Pour 1/2 cup water into the bottom of the baking sheet.  Loosely cover the squash with foil, then slide the baking sheet into the oven.  After 30 minutes, remove the foil.  Bake an additional 20 -30 minutes or until the squash is tender, but not mushy and the stuffing has browned a bit on top.  Transfer the squash to the serving dish and garnish with a bit of parsley.

Print this recipe: Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage

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6 Responses to “Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage”

  1. […] Stuffed Winter Squash with Rice and Sausage […]

  2. Hannah Says:

    Mmmm, love this one, Karen! I haven’t tried rice stuffing before, but I just picked up some delicata squash without a plan for them – thank you! I can’t wait to try this one. We have some gluten free guests next week, so this will be welcome (although I may try it over the weekend since it just sounds so good!)..

  3. Nicole Says:

    Karen, Thanks so much for a yummy recipe! Michelle has made it a few times already and tonight I am treating my neighbors to a feast – thanks to you! I couldn’t help licking the spoon…Happy holidays! Nicole

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