I love Thanksgiving partly because I love planning the dinner menu. My brother-in-law always makes the turkey but I'm in charge of all the side dishes and dessert. There are tons of new recipes I want to try every year but there are also some staples like my sausage and apple stuffing. Salty sausage with sweet apples just goes together so well! This year, I decided to switch it just a tad by making a stuffed acorn squash with sausage and apple farro stuffing. No one in my family really likes the soggy bread combination anyways so I'm sure this swap will be a hit!
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage and Apple Farro Stuffing
- 4 acorn squash
- 1 ½ cups farro
- 4 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 4 links chicken apple sausage
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 granny smith apples peeled, and chopped
- ¼ cup celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ½ cup chopped pecans toasted
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the acorn squash on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until a fork can easily pierce the skin. Let cool slightly. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Scoop out some of the flesh, leaving a "bowl" intact to fill later.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the farro stuffing. Combine 1 ½ cups farro with 4 ½ cups chicken broth in a medium saucepot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute until browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add chopped onions, chopped apples, ¼ cup chopped celery, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic and saute until the vegetables have softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ cup dried cranberries, and ¼ cup white wine, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the wine has reduced by half.
- Add the cooked farro, ¼ cup chopped parsley, ½ cup chopped pecans, and scooped out acorn squash, stirring to combine. Season the stuffing with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the farro stuffing into the acorn squash and sprinkle breadcrumbs and grated parmesan. Bake the stuffed squash for about 7-8 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are toasted. Serve warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
This stuffed acorn squash with sausage and apple farro stuffing was created for this year's Thanksgiving dinner but it can very much be just a regular weeknight meal. You can also take out the sausage to make it vegetarian or use vegetarian sausage instead.
First things first, roast the acorn squash. Squash can be very difficult to cut and peel when it's raw so I prefer to roast them whole and cut after. Just let them cool slightly before handling because they will be hot! Cut the squash in half and discard the seeds. Scoop out some of the flesh to mix into the stuffing but make sure to still leave the squash intact. You want to keep that bowl shape so that you can fill it up later.
While the squash is roasting, make the sausage and apple farro stuffing. Stuffing might have a reputation for being unhealthy but this version is anything but. Cook the farro first; if you're not a fan of farro, try wild rice, brown rice, bulgur, really any type of grain will work.
Brown the sausage and saute the vegetables including the onions, apples, celery, and garlic. I chose chicken apple sausage for this recipe to compliment the apple but use what you like! Add all of the aromatics along with white wine and bring everything to a simmer. Once the liquid has evaporated, add the cooked farro along with the reserved squash, chopped parsley, and chopped pecans.
Stuff the acorn squash with the farro stuffing and sprinkle breadcrumbs and grated parmesan on top. Finish the squash by popping them into the oven until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are browned.
My favorite part about this stuffed acorn squash with sausage and apple farro stuffing is getting a big scoop with all of the components. Acorn squash instead of bread for a stuffing option? I'm totally digging it.
For more holiday dish inspiration check out this pomegranate beer braised lamb shoulder!