Last updated on October 6th, 2016
Last night, just for the fun of it, I roasted a quartet of acorn squash. Then I filled the cavities with a simple saute of ground turkey, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, fragrant thyme, and a flurry of Parmesan cheese. The final product, which the Silver Fox and I devoured before a roaring fire, seemed to capture the very essence of autumn. After one bite, I knew I’d have to share the recipe with you.
The only problem with this main course? It did not have a name. I considered each of the following titles:
Stuffed Acorn Squash. Meh — too generic.
Acorn Squash Filled With Ground Turkey, Tomato Paste, Worcestershire Sauce, Red Wine, and Thyme. An accurate description, but too wordy for a movie theatre marquee, let alone the tiny title-box on this WordPress site.
Gobble-Gobble Squash. Bingo! It’s an appropriate title, too, because the dish contains ground turkey. Substitute ground beef, and you’ll have Moo-Moo Squash.
Here’s the step-by-step:
First, slice off the pointed bottoms of 4 small acorn squash. This way, your gobble won’t wobble.
Then slice off the stem ends, as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. Save these nifty “lids.” We’ll use ’em for decoration.
Now plunge a spoon through the exposed flesh…
And scrape down and around to remove seeds and fibers.
Tip! You can roast acorn squash seeds in the same manner as for pumpkin seeds. Here’s the recipe.
Put the squash on a baking sheet, and brush the exposed flesh and cavities with melted butter. Put the lids on the baking sheet, too, but do not butter them.
Roast the shells and lids in a preheated 425°F until the flesh is absolutely tender — about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
In a non-stick skillet, brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey breast, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. My turkey was 97% fat free, so it produced very little grease. Transfer the browned turkey to a bowl, and set aside.
Now pour a glug of olive oil into the skillet…
And stir in 1 large, minced onion. Lower the heat, and let the onion sweat until soft — about 5 minutes.
Return the turkey to the skillet, and then stir in a generous splash of good red wine (I used 1/2 cup Coppola Cabernet), plus a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce (about 1 1/2 teaspoons).
Then stir in 6 ounces of plain tomato paste…
And season the mixture with salt, pepper, and 1 generous teaspoon of dried thyme. (Make that 3 teaspoons of thyme if you are using fresh leaves.)
To hold the works in silky suspension, stir in 1 tablespoon corn starch blended with just enough cold water to make a thick paste.
Another tip! Taste carefully for seasonings — you might like to add more salt.
Spoon the turkey mixture into the squash cavities…
Top the filling with some shredded Parmesan cheese…
And bake at 425°F until the cheese melts — 5-10 minutes.
To serve, put each squash on a plate, and set the lid slightly ajar.
Then remove the lid…
And tuck into this autumn aroma therapy. Be sure to scrape some of the squash flesh as you eat the turkey filling — the combination is pure magic.
Think you’ll give this seasonal sumptuousness a try? Talk to me in the comments section below. As always, I love hearing from you.
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And here, just to make your life a little easier, is the gobble-gobble recipe in printable format:
An elegant main course for an autumn dinner party. The acorn squash is first baked and then filled with an aromatic saute of ground turkey, red wine, tomato paste, and thyme. The only required accompaniment is a bottle of good Cabernet Sauvignon.
- 4 small acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast (available in supermarkets)
- 1 generous tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1/2 cup good red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 6 ounces plain tomato paste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (triple this amount for fresh leaves)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch blended with just enough water to make a thick paste
- Shredded Parmesan cheese -- a generous pinch for each squash
- Preparing the squash -- Center the oven rack, and preheat oven to 425°F. To insure the squash will stand up straight, slice off the little point located at the blossom end of the squash. Then slice off a "lid" from the stem end, just as you would for a jack-o-lantern. Save the lids. Plunge a soup spoon into the exposed flesh, and scrape down and around to remove seeds and stringy fibers.
- Roasting the squash -- Stand the squash upright on a baking sheet, and brush the exposed flesh and cavities with the melted butter. Arrange the lids on the surface of the baking sheet, but do not butter them. Roast until the flesh is definitely tender -- about 40 minutes.
- Making the filling -- In a large, non-stick skillet, brown the ground turkey over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Transfer the finished turkey to a bowl, and set aside. Then add the olive oil and minced onion to the skillet. Lower the heat, cover the skillet, and let the onion sweat until soft -- about 5 minutes. Then increase the heat, and stir in the wine, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, thyme. Stir thoroughly to combine. Then stir in the cold corn starch solution.
- Filling, baking, and serving the squash -- Spoon the filling into the cavity of each acorn, and top with a generous pinch of the shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake in the hot oven just until the cheese melts -- 5-10 minutes. Plate the squash with the lids arranged on top, and serve. Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sounds like a perfect autumn dish. And so pretty! I just picked up some winter squash at the farmers market last weekend, so this will be perfect to use it for. Now I just need to decide who to invite for dinner.
Simple things like this are part of the reason that Autumn is my favourite season. Lovely recipe. I think I’m going to make this next weekend after a planned drive in the country to see the colours. Thank you for sharing.
Hello Kevin, I’ve recently discovered your site. And am loving it; especially the garden stuff. Though we live a different continent away. If my pumpkins had survived the slug onslaught this year I might be trying this now. Ah well, there’s always next season 🙂
Learnt a lot too; about newspapers and golden leaves –
Oh yesss! They look wonderlishous! And perfect for our Thanksgiving dinner at the cottage! I’ve always made mine the same ol way, cut in half with butter and brown sugar. Thanx Kevin for putting you’re own lovely spin on this great Autumn veggie! 🙂
YUM!!! I love all kinds of squash!! Will definitely be stuffing some soon!!
Kathrina Osborn says
Wow Kevin! Really looks and sounds great! Both of my girls love squash, and we have a local farmer with inexpensive, and organic squash! I shall be trying this soon!
SURE I’m going o try this!
I make a Pumpkin / Ground Turkey dish “kind of” like this: *Stuffed Pumpkin* However the seasonings are very different ~ they are more on the “Sage Stuffing” kind of side.
These sound Quite Yummy – to sound redundant to the caws above:
This is one of the main reasons I love Autumn ~ fires, baked dishes, throws, tea & my Kindle Fire!
Thank you for this, it looks so delicious! Always looking for new ways to serve squash.
Brenda Johnson says
What a warm wonderful (and filling!!!) lunch this was!!!! The sweetness of the acorn squash coupled with the savory turkey tomato filling was a great combination!!!! (I admit to being unsure of how that would work…rest assured… IT DOES!!!!) Just a sprinkle of cheese on the top gives it that extra bit of gooey richness…. So yummy- so healthy!!!! A great cool weather meal!!! Thanks for sharing Kevin!!!!!
Patricia Panuccio says
Thank you for the wonderful recipe.
Clara Nelson says
This looks fabulous, and I especially like the description of you and your loved one enjoying it by the fire. It’s still in the 80s here in the Arizona desert, I’m looking forward to cooler temps and turning on the oven for dinner! My question is, do you think these would freeze well for reheating? I’d like to make 4 and freeze 2, for a last minute supper. I’ve had good luck with freezing stuffed bell peppers.
Martha Hansen says
So nice of you to post this recipe, there is an acorn squash sitting on the kitchen counter, and a pound of ground turkey in the freezer – now I have a plan! Love your blog, Kevin.
We just harvested our squash. Not as many acorn this year for some reason but I will definitely be trying this recipe soon. Do you have any ideas for spaghetti squash? I probably have fifty of the little jewels. Thanks for all of your lovely ideas. I look forward to your post every week and have used many of your recipes. Just harvested the chives for the season and after freezing some used the rest for pesto. YUM!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Clara – A frozen winter squash will collapse. To make this gobble-gobble goodness in advance, just fill the squash and refrigerate it.
kath parran moriarty says
Another good filling, for the vegetarian friends: Trader Joe’s grain mix (cooked in diluted orange juice) plus chopped onion, poultry seasoning, orange zest, and dried cranberries.
Laura Rankin says
So beautiful and inviting for a cozy autumn dinner. I want to make it next Friday for company. I may make the turkey filling the night before.
PS – Enjoyed your video of the boxwood!
Melissa B. says
Kevin, due to food sensitivities I can’t have tomato. Can you think of an alternative? I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a couple weeks. I could always make as is for “them” (loved ones without food allergies) and drool while watching them eat…… 😉
Kevin, even though I’m not a very good cook, I always want to try your recipes. The way you write is delightful! I think I’ll try this recipe. Wish me luck! I absolutely love your posts. Maybe I will try to grow garlic…you make it look easy (which works for me). Thanks and keep on writing, Please!
Julia Hofley says
Cannot wait to try this one! Wonder how I can veganize it?
Kay Hirai says
What a perfect way to prepare a delicious squash dinner. I love them but don’t cook them often because I hate slicing them. Now, this is a perfect solution! I will try it out this weekend.
As usual, I love your comfort food recipes. Thanks for sharing.
Ha ha ha- last thing anyone wants is a wobbly gobble Kevin 😉 😉 Love the tongue in cheek tone of your recipes – thank you.
OHHohoho, Yesss! Kevin, it has been a continuous delight to have found your blog & this little treasure of a recipe just made it that much more so! Thank you thank you from the bottom my little squash lovin heart!
Rae Fuller says
Hi Kevin, Love your column and you!
Jeanne Collins says
My friend Louise introduced me to acorn squash by stuffing them with peas in a buttery cream sauce. (I’d say creamed peas but her sauce was just more elegant than that!!)
My 8 grandkids come every Tuesday night for dinner. They try to guess what I’ll be serving. They will never guess Gobble Gobble Squash and I know they will gobble these up! Thanks for your wonderful ideas and recipes. One of my favorites is your recipe for Scrumptious Pumpkin Bread. I will make that with the squash. Winner winner turkey dinner!!!
Cynthia Shultz says
Looks fabulous ! thank you.
Linda A says
I’ve been eating stuffed peppers all summer (which I love). But, I wouldn’t
have thought to make stuffed squash like this. I’ll give it a try. Sounds gobbling good!
Joanne is Zone 6b says
Thank you for this wonderful suggestion! The stuffed squash are adorable! Love Kath’s vegetarian suggestion, too.
Hello Kevin! Thank you for this recipe. I would’ve never thought to put the reds (wine, paste) with turkey! I love every kind of squash and I’m definitely giving this one one a try.
Peggy Jones says
Love the Liberty Blue plates. One of my favorites to collect. Will try the acorn squash recipe soon. Looks delicious. Peggy
Any time i can get another way to enjoy Acorn squash is a good time. I will definetly try this soon. Thanks for sharing !
Oh boy! Sounds delicious! With a name like that, how can you go wrong! Thanks for ANOTHER wonderful recipe.
This is one delicious recipe! I had to change it up because I didn’t feel like running to the store… used beef instead of turkey, the last of last year’s canned tomatoes instead of paste, and madeira because that’s what was open. It still turned out awesome. I think I may make this for a friends’ lunch later in the month. Thanks so much!!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Liz – So glad you tried this recipe, and experimented with ingredients you had on hand. Ah, the joy of cooking!
Julie R says
Funny name for the recipe, LOL. I like it. It is a little bit like the stuffed peppers that I make. My stuffed peppers are made with Tempeh which is made from soybeans. I’m always on the hunt to find recipes that have ground turkey in them, so thanks another good one.
Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says
Your paragraph of accomplishments fails to mention FOOD STYLIST!
Even the fork looks spectacular. You are a natural entertainer. xoxoxoxox
Made this last night, in spite of my husband’s ‘turned-up nose’ when he asked what I was making. After a few bites, he said “This is really good!”. He is generally a reluctant complimenter, so this was high praise! I had a good bit of the turkey mixture left over that wouldn’t fit in my 4 squash. Next time I will make five 🙂 Thanks, Kevin!
Vickie P says
I have always wanted to try acorn squash and here is the perfect recipe to do so. Thanks for sharing, Kevin. Look forward to making this dish.
Christa Valency says
I love that tomato paste & Worcestershire duo. A 1-2 punch. It makes everything so much more savory.
Melissa B, my husband can’t eat tomato paste either, so I have to leave it out most of the time. I compensate with other super savory ingredients. My favorites for this type of job are paprika (unless nightshades are problematic for you), Worcestershire, tamari or soy sauce, a little anchovy paste, parmesan, and mushrooms. Instead of tomato sauce, I sometimes cook a bunch of savory veggies with plenty of spice and puree them to make a sauce.
Kevin, you think any of those ingredients would work here?
Karen Thomas says
Squash is magic for diabetics, wonderfully healthy. So, I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe. Definitely going to make this and share with my boyfriend, who’s learning to eat healthy after being a bachelor too long. And I always roast the seeds!
Giuditta Reppi says
Kevin, I’ve now made this recipe twice and passed it along to my friends at work and my sisters. I added a bit of couscous I had on hand the first time and made quinoa to add to it the second time — both variations were excellent. Thanks for another of your great recipes. As ever, I want to know when some publisher is going to snap you up and produce your cookbook! Love and kisses, Giuditta
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Giuditta – I’m so glad you tried — and liked — the Gobble Gobble Squash. Love your idea of adding couscous or quinoa to the filling. Thanks for sharing my blog with your co-workers and sisters!
Geralyn Culhane says
We don’t get many cold days here in Clearwater Fl, but this weekend was pretty chilly..so I couldn’t wait to try your Gobble Gobble Squash..
It was absolutely delicious..hardy, and so healthy! Thank you for your step by step instructions. I would have never attempted this if you didn’t help!
We loved it..thank you!!!.. always be your biggest fan!
The Rustic Apple cake is next..looks wonderful.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Geralyn – I’m so glad you tried — and liked — the squash. Rustic Apple Cake is truly amazing — hope you’ll give it a “go”!
Katie Garrett says
I am going to make the filling and freeze it in 4 portions. That way I can make one at a time. Learning to cook for one is challenging. Thank you for your recipes!
Cooked an acorn squash yesterday – 1/2 sweet and 1/2 savory. Now I shall use your recipe
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Katie – Great idea to make the filling in advance and then freeze it. Enjoy!
Gene – Let me know how the recipe works out for you!
Oh, my, Goodness! I am so excited to try this recipe! I love acorn squash but this recipe makes a whole meal out of it. Thank you Kevin and Katie, I really like your idea to make some filling in advance and freeze in portion sizes. Great idea!!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi SueEllen – After you try the squash, please report back. I’d love to read your review!
I made this recipe today. Outstanding. Taste wonderful and the presentation was beautiful.
Thanks so much.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Gene – I’m so glad this recipe worked out for you. Thanks for posting your review!