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Sweet Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Nuts and Cranberries

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40-50 minutes

Servings: 4

Recipe By: Laurie McNamara

From:  Simply Scratch

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Sweet Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Nuts and Cranberries

This apple-filled side dish will do double duty as a gorgeous centerpiece at your next holiday meal table. Roasted acorn squash are stuffed with a sweet and buttery mixture of apples, nuts and dried cranberries. Cinnamon, nutmeg and poppy seeds round out this feast of delectable late fall flavors. Pairs well with poultry, pork and portobello mushrooms.

2  small acorn squash, cut in half horizontally
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1  small granny smith apple
1  small honeycrisp apple
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
2 pinch sea salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped pistachios, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
 honey (for drizzling)
For the squash:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large glass baking dish add 4
tablespoons of butter. To melt it, just pop into the oven while it preheats.

Slice 1/8 of an inch off the bottoms of each squash half so they will sit flat.

Once the butter is melted, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly on the bottom of the pan. Lay the squash face down (with the “bottom” facing up) so the exposed flesh touches the brown sugar butter mixture in the pan. Bake in your preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until knife pierces easily.

For the stuffing:
Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted and hot, add in the diced apples. Sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft, but still firm and textured. Measure and add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and a couple pinches of sea salt.

Remove stuffing mixture to a medium-sized bowl and add in the chopped walnuts, pistachios and cranberries. Measure and add in the vanilla extract and poppy seeds, toss together until well combined.

To serve:
Invert the baked squash onto a platter or individual plates. Spoon in some of the brown sugar and butter from the baking dish and drizzle it into the center and along the tops of the squash.

Fill the squash centers with the apple filling and top with more chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey. Serve warm.
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