One of my family’s favorite dishes, and one that frequently appears on our table this time of year, is some combination of squash, sausage, and apples. It can be acorn, butternut, carnival, or any other kind of winter squash. I use smoked turkey sausage, but, again, you can use any kind you like. As for apples, I often use Granny Smith, but I’ll choose Honeycrisp whenever they are in season.
And just as the ingredients vary from time to time, there are several different ways that I make this dish. Sometimes I peel and cube the squash, parboil it, and then sauté it with the apples and sausage for a quick stovetop, one pan meal.
Tonight, however, I made the squash the way my mom always fixed it: baked and stuffed. I began by baking acorn squash halves, cut side down, in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes.
While the squash was baking, I peeled, cored, and chopped three Honeycrisp apples and cut the sausage on the diagonal. I sautéed the sausage and apples in butter with brown sugar and a bit of nutmeg.
I cooked the mixture for about 5 minutes, until the apples had softened and given up some of their liquid and the sausage had begun to color.
I put a pat of butter in each squash half, then spooned in the apple mixture and topped it with a few grinds of nutmeg and more brown sugar. (Note: I wouldn’t recommend the brown sugar on top. It’s not necessary, as the mixture is plenty sweet, and it tends to burn rather than melt.)
I returned the squash to the oven and cooked it for 25 minutes, until the squash was tender and the apples and sausage had cooked through.
This is a complete meal, which can be served directly in the squash halves or scooped out into a bowl. But don’t count on leftovers — we all polished off our squash halves. Even the extra squash and apples from the pan were gone by the time we were done.
This dish, in one form or another, will make several appearances on our table before the season is over. If you try it, I’m sure it will start showing up on your table, too.