Acorn squash is a winter squash and perfect in the fall when its colors echo seasonal foliage. It can be orange, buff (said to have more of a concentrated flavor), dark green, or a combination. Baked acorn squash makes a delicious side dish for any family meal, and it's special enough for a holiday dinner.
One reason we like to bake acorn squash halves or quarters is that there's no need to peel it. Peeling is difficult, not only because the skin is very hard, but also because of the ridges running up and down the squash. After baking, the tender squash easily separates from the peel. In this recipe, its smooth and sweet flesh is brushed with a mixture of butter, brown sugar, and marmalade.
Plan on one-half acorn squash for each person if the squash are small to medium in size. If the squash are quite large, one will probably be enough for four people. This might just become your new holiday side dish.
- 2 small to medium acorn squash
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons marmalade (or hot pepper jelly)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Gather the ingredients.
Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 400 F. Rinse the acorn squashes and pat dry. Place them on a cutting board.
With a sharp, heavy knife, slice each squash in half lengthwise. It can roll, so cut carefully.
Using a spoon, scoop the seeds and fibers out of each squash half.
Arrange the squash halves, cut sides up, in a large shallow baking dish.
With a sharp knife, score the inside of the squash halves. This will allow some of the glaze to sink into the squash. Sprinkle each half lightly with salt and pepper.
Combine the marmalade, butter, and brown sugar in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl and heat until hot and melted, stirring occasionally. Brush the squash generously with the glaze mixture.
Put the baking dish in the heated oven and add about 1/2 inch of hot water to the dish. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender. Use a fork to test for tenderness.
Remove the squash from the oven and let them cool slightly. Put the halves in dishes or on a serving platter.
- Use honey instead of the brown sugar.
- Try a mixture of butter, herbs, and spices for completely savory squash.
- Alternatively, brush only with butter. If desired, sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Or fill the baked squash with Spanish rice or another cooked filling, top it with cheese, and bake a little longer to melt the cheese. Stuffed squash makes a delicious main dish or a filling side dish.