Reading Is Funny: Apple, Squash, Sausage, and the Blarney Castle

My stuffed squash comes with quite the story, as so many of my recipes do! The flavors for this dish are sweet, tart, rich, and perfect to prepare for a brunch gathering with your best group of storytellers.

My stuffed squash comes with quite the story, as so many of my recipes do! The flavors for this dish are sweet, tart, rich, and perfect to prepare for a brunch gathering with your best group of storytellers.

The story behind this recipe is a long one, but considering I survived, I am compelled to tell it!

On a trip that started in Russia, continued through Denmark, and ended in the UK, Sue and I found ourselves on a day trip to visit the city of Cork in Ireland.

The main attraction in Cork is the Blarney Stone, which we set of to see amid a swarm of fellow tourists. We arrived at the Blarney Castle, which is a tower that some describe as majestic or looming, depending on your mood. After traveling up the very narrow (I mean EXTREMELY narrow), four-story, windowless, and very claustrophobic staircase, Sue coaxed me through my one and only panic attack. I hadn’t even known I was claustrophobic until I met Blarney Castle.

When we finally burst out of the tower and onto the top of the castle, we found ourselves still in the queue to finally kiss the stone. Tradition has it that in order to receive the gift of eloquence, one has to bend over backwards to kiss the stone.

This means lowering your head (backwards!) from the parapet walk over an opening in the tower that leads all the way down to the ground below. There were two very, very young and scrawny teens that were on either side of the hole in the floor – to make sure you don’t fall through, but they were not enough to persuade me.

Needless to say, after narrowly escaping death in the tower (a bit of an exaggeration), I sprinted past Sue and that stone, down the castle’s back stairs, and found my way to the closest pub. I took refuge in a pint and comfort in a dish called Cheshire Pie, which combines chunky pork and sautéed apples in a flaky crust.

My recipe for stuffed acorn squash is a twist on that pie (minus the flaky crust). The flavors are sweet, tart, and rich. It’s super for a mid-week meal and awesome for a brunch gathering.

Actually, it’s a pretty perfect dish if you are just in need of a bit of calm after the storm!!

Apple, Sausage and Cheddar Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ready In:

30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients

For Squash:
2 medium acorn squashes, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon apple pie spice

For Stuffing:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 small poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 pound mild Italian sausage
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated, about 1 cup
Sour cream

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°. Drizzle the cut side of the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with apple pie spice. Place the squash, cut-side-down into a baking pan. Bake until the squash is fork tender, about 20 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion and pepper and cook until the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook until brown and crumbly, about 5 minutes more.

Add the apples to the pan. Season with 1 more teaspoon apple pie spice and some of the salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese. Pull the baking dish from the oven. Turn the squash so they are cut side up. Stuff the squash with the apple-sausage filling.

Place the dish back into the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more. Garnish the stuffed squash with a dollop of sour cream.

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