Classic Baked Acorn Squash

So I'm going to continue with the theme of delicious fall recipes for y'all. Or should I say winter? Thanks to our friend who stopped by for a visit, mr. arctic front, Richmond is f-r-i-g-i-d. 

This classic baked acorn squash tops my list of favorite fall, comforting recipes. Someone first made it for us a few years ago, when we were on a weekend getaway in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, and our autumns seriously haven't been the same since. 

I dream about this squash in the summer months. And, its as easy as it comes. 

Halve a large acorn squash from top to bottom. 

Use a spoon to hollow out the center, removing the seeds. 

Acorn squash must be related to pumpkins, because they smell exactly the same. Don't be freaked out that you're about to eat a jack o'lantern - you aren't - and these are way better.

Then use your knife to cut slits into the sides of the squash. You want them to be deep enough, but not so deep that the outer edge of the squash is cut.

Fill the hollow center and sides with butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup, and top with coarse salt. 

Add a little water into a baking dish and bake for a little over an hour. Serve straight out of the oven, but be sure to spoon the butter that's melted into the center over the slits you created.

Perfectly even butter coverage is essential, right?

The result is a soft, sweet, flavorful squash that’s dripping with all the good things in life. This time, we added on candied pecans for a welcomed crunch. 

We grilled Trader Joe's Peppercorn-Garlic Boneless Pork Tenderloin to go with it. This thick cut of pork brought the perfect spicy contrast to our sweet-as-dessert squash.

The last step is self-explanatory...

Spoon into mouth. Repeat until full. Enjoy.

Classic Baked Acorn Squash
for two

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup 
  • Dash of salt 
  • Candied pecans for topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a strong chef's knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife.

2. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a ¼ inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.

3. Coat the inside of each half with ½ a tablespoon of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a tablespoon of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4. Bake in the oven for 60-75 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.


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