Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and aside from the turkey and all the trimmings, I luv all the family traditions that have become favorites in our home. The sound of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade coming from the television as I busy myself in the kitchen, and then later on the hurrahs!!! exclaimed as the favorite football team scores the game winning touchdown. The delicious but calorie-laden pre-dinner snacks laid out to be enjoyed throughout the day, and the dining room table beautifully set with the Christmas Spode china – each piece selected by my parents and given to me for my birthday over the past 20+ years. But for me the best part of the day is the gathering around the table, taking a moment to take it all in. Thinking of the family members that can’t be with us but are always in our hearts, then the simple joining of hands, bowing of heads, and giving thanks for the many blessings we have received throughout the year.
One of my favorite sides for Thanksgiving and even enjoyed on it’s own, is baked acorn squash. When in season, I always have a few squash in the pantry as they can easily be stored for up to a month. Once the seeds and pulp are removed, the squash can be steamed, simmered, or my favorite, baked with a brown butter sugar sage glaze. Try saying that three times fast!
Acorn Squash has a very hard, thick skin and can be quite a challenge to cut. Be sure to use a good sharp knife when halving it. To prepare the squash for baking, cut it lengthwise, from the stem to the end, and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits from each half.
Fresh sage leaves add a savoriness to the overall flavor that offsets the nuttiness of the brown butter and sweetness of the brown sugar.
recipe: baked acorn squash with brown butter sugar sage glaze servings: 4
2 acorn squash, halved
4 tablespoons butter
8 tablespoons brown sugar
3-5 sage leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
With a large spoon, scoop the seeds and pulp out of the squash and discard. Prick the insides of each half with a fork and place in a baking pan, cut side up. Add 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the skins from burning. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
In a small saucepan on medium heat, add the butter and cook until melted. Add the the sage leaves and continue to cook until the butter begins to foam and starts to turn golden in color. Reduce the heat to low, and carefully remove the sage leaves. Add the brown sugar and continue stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes or until glaze begins to thicken.
Remove squash from the oven, uncover and with a pastry brush, coat the top of the squash with the glaze and spoon the remainder equally into the cavity of each squash. Return to the oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!