Squash, Sausage, and Apples {Recipe}

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.

Potato Gratin (Pommes Dauphinois) {FFwD}

My selection this week for French Fridays with Dorie was Potato Gratin. These aren’t your mother’s scalloped potatoes. No ham. No cheddar cheese sauce. No flour (I never understood why one would add starch to starchy potatoes). No, sir. These are simple, creamy, delicious potatoes. They’re easy to make and impossible to resist.

There aren’t many ingredients: potatoes, heavy cream, garlic, salt, pepper, Gruyère, and, if you’d like, a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary (I used both).

The cream is heated with the garlic until it simmers gently. The smell of garlic-infused cream was enough to convince me that this dish was worth making. After slicing the potatoes paper thin with the smallest blade on my mandoline slicer, I layered the potatoes with cream, salt, and pepper until all the potatoes and cream were used up and the dish was filled almost to the top.

Then I sprinkled the potatoes with thyme and rosemary and layered on the Gruyère.

After 45 interminable minutes in the oven, the potatoes were tender and the cheese well-browned. I let the dish set up in the oven with the door open and the oven turned off for about 10 minutes.

I served the potato gratin for dinner with turkey sausage, Modern Baker grissini, and Cabernet Sauvignon. As easy as this dish was to make, it was out of this world delicious. We all agreed that this is a recipe to keep close at hand and to make often for a simple, perfect supper.