3small acorn squasheshalved lengthwise and seeded (do not peel!)
1teaspooncornstarchmixed with 1 tablespoon cold water or apple juice to make a slurry
2applespeeled, cored and diced
Bake the squash: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the acorn squash halves cut-side down on the prepared sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
Make the filling: Combine apple juice, brown sugar, dried cranberries, spices and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the dried cranberries look plump and are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and simmer until sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the butter. Stir in the apples and pecans. Set aside.
Fill the squash: Carefully turn the baked squash over and fill with the fruit and nut mixture. Bake for about another 15 minutes or until the squash is soft all the way through.
I guess you can fill pretty much every winter squash - small butternuts would be a great substitute for the acorn squashes. But even baby bear pumpkins would be delicious!
If you don't want to add any sugar, use maple syrup or honey in place of the brown sugar. You may need to add an extra tablespoon or two, but make sure to taste the filling first and go according to taste.
Chopped walnuts are a great substitute for the chopped pecans. Use pepitas if you want to avoid nuts!
This is a tasty vegetarian side dish, but to make this heartier, add browned sausage meat to the filling.
To make this vegan, use coconut oil or vegan margarine in place of the butter. It will change the taste a little, but it will still be delicious.