I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t grow up eating acorn squash or even butternut squash for that matter. It just wasn’t grown in the region that I lived in back then. Now you can’t keep people away from it in my home town.
While I was visiting back home, I heard people swapping squash pie recipes and then it grew from there. Everyone was talking about how they prepared one recipe after another using fall and winter squash. I almost felt like I was watching a tennis match with my head bobbing back and forth trying to keep up. The recipe for the Acorn Squash and Pear Filling came out of that so called “match”. Thanks to my sister Margaret who occasionally makes this for Sunday dinner.
It’s an easy recipe and very flavorful with fall seasonings of cinnamon and nutmeg and a little ginger, but the onion balances it out and makes it a little savory too.
Since acorn squash and pears are fall crops, why not enjoy the two together. This would be an excellent side dish with ham or pork tenderloin.
Acorn Squash with Pear Filling
2 acorn squash
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 small onion, chopped
2 pears, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups orange juice
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut each squash in half lengthwise, discarding seeds and membranes. Place squash halves, cut side down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add water to a depth of 1-inch. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until squash is tender. Drain. Return squash halves to dish cut side up. Set aside.
Lower oven temp to 350 º.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add pear and next 5 ingredients; cook stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Spoon filling into squash halves. Bake uncovered at 350º for 15 to 20 minutes.
Bring orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in granulated sugar and boil 10 minutes. Drizzle orange syrup over the squash. Makes 4 servings.
By Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director
Photographs courtesy of Orkin
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