As the light changes, the leaves start to turn and the air hints at a touch of autumn, it’s time to harvest the bounty of the garden. Squashes are prolific producers yielding a generous crop that can be stored for use during the winter months and prepared many different ways. In summer they go on the grill, shredded into a recipe or chopped into a salad. I love them stuffed and baked especially on cool autumn days when warmth from the oven is a welcome thing. I stumbled by accident on a type of squash that can fit in either of these categories.
Each year I experiment with different types and plant favorites. I love acorn squash. I ordered what was supposed to be acorn squash. They thrived and started climbing the bean trellis. When the first fruits appeared I had a mystery in the garden. These were not acorn. They resembled pumpkins. I posted pictures online asking if anyone knew what they were. Many thought they were round zucchini. I cut one open thinking I would shred it up for a recipe. Not zucchini. Firm, hard and crisp, slightly sweet-some kind of squash.
I scanned my seed catalogs to see if I could identify. I think I grew ‘Tatuma’ which is both a summer and winter squash if left on the vine. Picked small it is similar to zucchini. If left to ripen it will change to a golden color. It’s an heirloom popular in Latin dishes.
In any case, I had some cut squash to use so I made a mushroom stuffed Tatuma and sharing the recipe below.
This recipe is a variation on a basic stuffing recipe my mother, grandmothers and great grandmothers taught me as a child. It wasn’t written down. It is more about eyeballing the texture and tasting than measuring. I always wanted to help by tasting because I love stuffing. I’ve included approximate measurements for those who prefer a more exact recipe. The recipe can be altered to use any kind of herbs, grains, bread, croutons, nuts, meats or spices. I used mushrooms because I had them in my fridge. This makes 2-4 servings.
• 2 squash cut in half and seeded
• Stale, good bread to make 2-3 cups croutons* (See recipe below or sub store bought)
• 1 onion chopped
• 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I used baby portabella)
• 3-4 garlic cloves chopped
• 1 stalk celery (you can also add carrot for color and texture)
• ½ cup chopped herbs (I used parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme from the garden)
• 6 tbsp (or more) butter
• ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
• ¼ cup crumbled Parmesan
• ½ to 1 cup broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, turkey, beef-I used vegetable)
• Olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Garlic salt (*optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350º
2. Cut squashes in half, seed
3. Place on baking sheet
4. Brush with olive oil
5. Season with salt & pepper or garlic salt and pepper
6. Bake 30 minutes or until flesh is softened. Remove from oven
1. Slice bread into 1 inch squares
2. Place on ungreased baking sheet
3. Toast with squash on another rack until brown and crunchy turning if needed
1. Finely chop onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms
2. Sautee over medium heat in 2-3 tablespoons butter until softened and just starting to caramelize
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste
4. Chop herbs
5. In a bowl, combine croutons, vegetables, Parmesan, bread crumbs and herbs
6. Heat ½ C broth and 3 T butter until melted
7. Pour broth & butter over croutons, stir to combine until just moistened *You don’t want to make paste, just to combine and moisten. Mixture should hold together but croutons still recognizable. If too dry, add more broth and butter.
8. Spoon stuffing into squash
9. Top with more melted butter if desired
10. Bake another 30 minutes or until squash if soft, stuffing is heated through and browned on top
For myself I served this as a main dish. Can be served as a side, ½ squash per person. Extra stuffing can be baked in a buttered baking dish along with squashes. For vegan, omit butter & cheese, sub additional vegetable broth and olive oil. Any type of squash can be used with this recipe. Stuffing can also be used to stuff fowl, meat or fish.
Stephanie Bishop is an award-winning floral designer, wedding and events planner, gardener, cook and author in Central Wisconsin. Follow her at Better Path Wisconsin, where she connects like-minded individuals about environmental, social and civil interests, and promotes green, healthy, sustainable living. View thousands of her food, floral and animal images on her Facebook page at Stephanie Bee and browse floral design ideas at Bishop Wedding & Floral Art. Read all of Stephanie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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