The days following Thanksgiving are always mixed for me. On the one hand, you have a bunch of leftovers that you know you should eat, but on the other hand I always crave a little variety after. I am always looking for ways to use the leftovers that aren’t just eating Thanksgiving dinner again or making a sandwich. Enter the Stuffed Acorn Squash!!
Depending on the size, one stuffed acorn squash can easily feed two people. So one turkey thigh or about half a breast could probably feed four pretty easily with this recipe. I also have another recipe here with a sausage base.
Acorn Squash Prep
This is generally a pretty easy recipe. The only really difficult part is prepping the acorn squash itself. It’s basically a mini pumpkin, so just know that you will need to scoop some seeds out. Thankfully, just a lot less. You also want to make sure you have a large and sharp knife, as you are going to cut through the thick part of the acorn squash.
So, to prep it, first cut a little off the bottom. You don’t need much; just enough to make it flat so it stands on its own. Then you need to lop the top off. I find its easiest to cut just below where the stem indent is. No this will likely result in you not cutting through the cavity. Thats fine, you end up with more usable squash this way though. Just take you knife and poke it through the center and then spiral your way out to open up the cavity. Then just scoop the seeds out.
Lesson learned from a little while back, you MUST cook the acorn squash separately first. It takes anywhere between 20-40 minutes to get them to the right softness depending on size. But you basically want the squash cooked before you stuff it. I like a little bit of oil and some good fall/winter spice to give ti some flavor and a little kick!
There are two ways to do the stuffing, one is a little easier and the other only moderately less so. So the easier option is to just use left over stuffing and add some chopped up turkey leftovers to that. Then just add a little bit of stock for moisture and…VOILA. The second option is to just make new stuffing (which when taking pictures for this recipe I did, since this was actually pre-Thanksgiving). I just added the turkey before adding in the stuffing mix to get everything nicely warmed up.
The other thing that I added to the stuffing was some wild rice. This was mainly for texture as I felt that there needed to be a good crunchy element in the stuffing. I cooked mine in the instant pot since it took about 15 minutes versus almost an hour on the stove top. I have to say the Instant Pot may be the best kitchen investment I have made (and I was a skeptic for a while).
Once all of that is combined and ready to go, stuff it into the squash and then for the final leftover homage… Top it with some of those crispy onions used for green bean casserole. Its a nice crunchy element and adds some great flavor too!
Leftover Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 Acorn Squash
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 1/4 Tsp Red Pepper Flake
- 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
- 1 Turkey Thigh or 1/2 Turkey Breast shredded
- 4 Cups Leftover Stuffing
- 1 Cup Wild Rice
- 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1/2 Cup Crispy Onions
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Cut a little off the bottom of the acorn squash to make a flat surface.
- Cut the top off the acorn squash, just a little below the stem indentation.
- Use your knife to poke into the center of the squash to find the cavity and work in a spiral to open it up to the desired size.
- With a spoon scoop the seeds out and remove as much of the stringy material from the sides as possible.
- Coat the inside in the olive oil and spices.
- Roast for 20-40 minutes, based on size and thickness.
- Cook the wild rice per package instructions (in the Instant Pot is was about a 15 minute pressure cook followed by 8-10 minute natural release).
- Heat up the shredded turkey in a dutch oven or sauce pan over a low heat. This is really just to warm it up before you stuff the squash.
- Add the stuffing and a little bit of broth, stirring to combine everything.
- Combine with the wild rice when done.
- Spoon a heaping amount of the stuffing mixture into the acorn squash.
- Top with the crispy onion.
- Bake for another 5-10 minutes.