Winter squash are in abundance right now, and with the multitude of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, the possibilities to add them to our weekly meal rotations are endless. Two of my personal favorites are delicata and sweet dumpling, each similar in taste and texture. Besides their flesh being sweet and creamy, they are also both suitably packaged in one to two-serving portions, which makes them ideal for smaller families and eliminates the daunting task of dealing with larger specimens.
With a low caloric, low carb, and high fiber count, squash can be an excellent addition to your diet from a health standpoint. Incorporating just a 1 cup serving (about the size of one dumpling squash—I swear, it was meant to be!) nets us our full recommended dose of daily vitamin A, and around 20 percent of our vitamin C. Additionally, the skin in both delicata and sweet dumpling are edible, thus increasing the fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.
This recipe pairs crisp, salty bacon with fragrant pears and herbaceous, piney notes from fresh rosemary. The stuffing combination complements the velvety texture of the squash by creating a sweet and savory sauce, adding both moisture and flavor. And with their convenient single-serving size, this dish can make an elegant and tasty addition to your holiday, or everyday, spread.
4 sweet dumpling squash, 4–6 inches in diameter; OR 2 delicata squash 8 inches long
4 strips meaty, nitrate-free bacon
1 small red onion, diced
2 firm pears, diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2–3/4 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons cold butter
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. If using dumpling squash, cut the top third off, then scoop out seeds. If using delicata, cut in half and scoop out seeds. Season inside of squash with salt and pepper. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet, and bake until tender, which could take anywhere from 35–50 minutes, depending on the thickness of the flesh. Don’t forget to bake the top of the squash to use as a lid, if desired.
2. Meanwhile, dice bacon and cook in a medium skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels with a slotted spoon, then pour off most of the fat, reserving around 1–2 tablespoons.
3. Cook onion in rendered bacon fat until tender and lightly browned. Add pears and rosemary and sauté briefly until pears are caramelized. Add cider vinegar, and simmer for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced slightly and mixture becomes somewhat syrupy. Add additional stock if mixture seems dry. Add butter, and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon stuffing mixture inside squash. Top with “lid” if using dumpling squash. Serve immediately, or place in a baking dish to serve later. If heating later, add a little water to the bottom of the baking dish and cover dish with a lid, parchment paper, or foil. Bake at 350 F, covered, until hot throughout.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream products