I was home alone. The kids were at school.
I kept walking past the two beautiful acorn squash (or is it squashes ... wait - that looks weird ... pretty sure it's squash) that were hanging out on my counter.
When I bought them the other day, I didn't have any specific plans for them. They just looked so splendid sitting there at the grocery store and they called out to me to bring them home. I responded by having the kids put them in the cart.
Not knowing if the kids would even eat them, I decided to cut one up and make it for myself for lunch while they were away. (Moms need to eat, too!)
Sunny Anderson and The Pioneer Woman both have some tasty-sounding recipes for these green and orange beauties. So, I prepared mine using a combination of the two recipes.
Once baked, the squash can be served as-is ... a cute little acorn squash "bowl" that begs for you to eat it by the spoonful as you scrap the flesh off of the skin while scooping up some of the buttery, sugary basting liquid. (I think that was a major run-on right there, huh?) Your other option is to scoop out all of the flesh (with the liquid) into a bowl or casserole dish, mash it all up like you would mashed potatoes and serve it that way. (That route can, also, be done in advance and the squash reheated when ready to serve.)
For me, personally, I like individual things. I like my own squash half and the experience of scraping the insides out by myself by the spoonful ... bite-after-lovely-bite. But, you're a big kid. Do what ya want! I promise it'll be wonderful either way!
Most recipes call for two whole acorn squash and serve 4 people. I cut the recipe in half since I only was making one squash. The recipe below is written using 2 squash, however. If you're only using one squash, you'll need to halve the recipe below.
2 acorn squash
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pure maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons raw cane sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Carefully cut each squash in half.
Scrape out the "insides."
Place the halves flesh-side up on a baking sheet or casserole dish. (I lined mine with foil for easier clean-up.) Sprinkle each half with a bit of salt and pepper.
Divide the butter, brown sugar and nutmeg into the center of each squash. Drizzle on a bit of maple syrup, if using.
Pour 1 - 2 cups of hot water into the bottom of the pan. This will help keep the squash moist. Cover with aluminum foil, but leave some gaps for steam to escape.
Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 30 - 40 minutes or until the squash is completely tender. Baste the squash with the sugary liquid several times throughout the baking once uncovered. (I probably basted mine about every 7 - 10 minutes. It's totally worth it!)
Sprinkle the tops with the raw cane sugar, if using.
Even if not using the cane sugar, broil the squash for about 5 minutes after it is completely cooked and starting to brown on top. You're looking for the tops to get all caramelized and for the butter/sugar mixture to bubble.
Baste one last time before serving.
Then, grab a spoon and dig in!