Christmas dinner yesterday (glazed ham, two veg., green salad, mince pie) was bizarre: dinner was ready well ahead of schedule, and everything came off perfectly. That included the improvisation du jour: cooking the stove-top stuffing mix inside the acorn squash, a dish that’s very much in the style of la cuisine de Nouvelle Zion.On the one hand, it’s sort of depraved: stove-top stuffing mix? On the other hand, it’s easy, it’s tasty, it doesn’t dirty a lot of dishes, it makes a nice presentation, and it’s blessedly tolerant: you can leave it on hold between steps whenever you need to deal with some other bit of cooking.
Stuffed Squash DeseretIf there are only two of you, eat the other half-squash for brunch on Boxing Day.
1 fair-sized acorn squash
1 six-ounce box of cornbread stovetop stuffing mix
1/4 C. butter or margarine
1. Wash the squash. Plonk a few discreet holes in it so it won’t explode. Put it in the microwave and nuke it, perhaps turning it over once or twice, until it softens up a bit. (If it suddenly starts looking bigger and rounder, stop immediately, and give it a few minutes to settle down before cutting into it.)
2. Slice the squash in half from nose to tail. Scoop out all the seeds. Wrap each half in waxed paper, and continue nuking until they’re imaginably edible, but still a bit stiff.
3. Put the stuffing mix in a bowl. Boil the amount of water specified on the package, melt the butter or margarine into it, and pour it over the mix. Stir briefly. When the stuffing is cool enough to handle, pack it into the squash halves, mounding it up over the entire top of the half-squash. Wrap waxed paper around each squash-and-stuffing module and return it to the microwave.
4. Keep nuking until the squash halves are pleasantly soft. Turn off the oven and let them sit until you’re ready to serve dinner.5. Carefully remove the waxed paper. You can cut each half lengthwise, yielding four substantial wedges of squash-and-stuffing, or slice them into smaller portions as desired, as long as they’re not so small that the components fall apart.
I’m thinking it ought to be possible to take the lid off and scoop out one of the larger winter squashes, and use it to bake a stuffing mixture (not instant stuffing, it’d go to mush) when you’re cooking a cut of meat that doesn’t have a body cavity.