Baked Acorn Squash With Apples, Cinnamon and Raisins

It was a fairly lengthy debate on what type of turkey to purchase for this Thanksgiving holiday dinner.  My local food co-op, the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, N.Y., www.hwfc.com, was offering two types of farm raised turkeys:  an organic turkey from Stone and Thistle Farm [www.stoneandthistlefarm.com] in East Meredith (Delaware County), New York at $6.29 per pound or “a natural and pasture raised” Misty Knoll turkey from Misty Knoll Farms [www.mistyknollfarms.com] in New Haven (Addison County), Vermont at $4.39 per pound.  By delaying a decision, I missed the deadline to pre-order a turkey from the food co-op.  Fortunately, the local Price Chopper supermarket (based in Schenectady County with a chain of supermarkets in the Northeast) was selling a quality turkey from Plainville Farms, located in the Syracuse area [www.plainvillefarms.com].  Its packaging noted “No antibiotics ever administered, vegetarian fed, no growth hormones, humanely raised.”  At $2.49 per pound, the holiday turkey this year cost a reasonable $35.00.

In contrast to the indecision on the Thanksgiving turkey purchase, there was no debate on cooking up a favorite holiday dish of baked acorn squash, stuffed with a mixture of apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The Saturday before the holiday, a visit to the wonderful Troy Farmers Market [www.troymarket.org] was the source for organic acorn squashes from Cornell Farm in Hoosick (Washington County), New York.  This easy recipe for a wonderful holiday acorn squash dish can be prepared the day before and simply heated up on Thanksgiving Day.

4 acorn squashes
2 or 3 large apples
¼ cup raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup butter or a buttery spread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a roasting pan.  Slice the acorn squashes in half, starting at the bottom of the acorn and slicing downward to the stem.  Scoop out the seeds and any pulp.  Place acorn squashes cut side down in the buttered roasting pan.  Add ¼ to ½ inch of water to the pan.  Bake for 45 minutes.

While the acorn squashes are baking, slice up 2 or 3 large apples into small pieces.  (I do not peel the apples since the skins will cook down nicely and add nutrition and flavor to the fruit mixture, and I like to use organic apples and the Honest Weight Food Co-op sells Ricker Hill Orchard’s organic apples from Turner, Maine [www.rickerhill.com/] including very flavorful and crisp Fuji apples [$1.99 per pound].) Heat the butter or buttery spread in a small pot until melted.  Instead of butter, I like to use Earth Balance Organic Buttery Spread, which is an organic expeller-pressed natural blend of soybean, palm fruit, canola and olive oil [www.earthbalancenatural.com].  Add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, and stir continuously until the apple is golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup of water, and continue to simmer the fruit until tender, an additional 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the acorn squash from the roasting pan after it has baked for the 45 minutes indicated above, and drain the water from the pan.  Turn the squash, cut side up and fill with the apple mixture.  Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Enjoy with your Thanksgiving turkey.  Happy holiday (FWB 11/24/10).

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