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Roasted Acorn Squash with Chicken Salad

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chicken Salad

Roasted until tender and lightly sweet with a bit of butter, a touch of brown sugar with dashes of nutmeg and cardamom  – then stuffed with a savory chicken salad. It’s a delightful match up!

This is the type of dish my Grandmother would have served to her guests over a game of canasta on a crisp fall day. It takes the classic hot chicken salad casserole and pairs it with a one of the most gorgeous from the squash family.

Start with acorn squash – it’s the quintessential fall side. It turns out it also makes the perfect vessel for baking a scoop of chicken salad. In the mix of that chicken salad you’ll find tasty chunks of chicken, a bit of crunch from toasted pecans and celery along with fresh apples and sweet onions all wrapped in creamy mayonnaise with a squeeze or two of lemon.

Top it off with a blend of Parmesan and Fontina cheese and a salty crunch of crushed potato chips. It’s a simple meal, but oh, so hot and satisfying!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chicken Salad

To save time, grab a roasted chicken from your favorite market.

For the squash:

2 acorn squash

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

½ freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

½ ground nutmeg

½ freshly ground cardamom

6 tablespoons brown sugar

For the chicken salad:

2 cups cubed roasted chicken

1 cup chopped celery, about 2 to 3 stalks

1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1 large McIntosh or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped – about 2 cups

½ cup toasted chopped pecans

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

¼ cup shredded or shaved cheese, fontina, Parmesan, cheddar or a blend

½ cup crushed potato chips, optional

To roast the squash:

Rinse the squash and pat dry. Using a large, sharp knife insert the tip in the middle of the squash between one of the ridges, pointing the knife towards the end and away from you. Gently cut through the squash until it is almost cut into, but don’t try and cut through the stem. Remove the knife and pull the squash apart into two separate pieces.

Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the center of the squash. (Discard the seeds; don’t toss these down your disposal!) Bunch up two pieces of aluminum foil to create a “nest” for each half – this keeps them from rolling around in the pan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, gently prick each squash around the edges and in the center, taking care not to pierce through the skin.

In each half, add ½ tablespoon butter in the center then sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg around the edges and in the center. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar in the center of each half.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until the squash is tender. While the squash bakes, make the chicken salad.

To make the chicken salad:

Mix the chicken with the celery, onion, apples, pecans, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with the kosher salt and pepper and stir to blend together.

When the squash is tender remove it from the oven. Using a fork gently pull some of the flesh away from the skin, mixing it into the melted butter and brown sugar. Leave enough of the squash around the edges to create a shell to hold the chicken salad. Divide the chicken salad between the squash, about 2 scoops each.

Mix the cheese with the crushed chips and sprinkle over the top of the chicken salad. Continue baking, uncovered at 400-degrees for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the chicken salad is heated through.

Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chicken Salad, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

October 23, 2019
: Makes 4 servings.

Roasted until tender and lightly sweet with a bit of butter, a touch of brown sugar with dashes of nutmeg and cardamom - then stuffed with a savory chicken salad. It’s a delightful match up!

By:

Ingredients
  • To save time, grab a roasted chicken from your favorite food market.
  • For the squash:
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • ½ ground nutmeg
  • ½ freshly ground cardamom
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • For the chicken salad:
  • 2 cups cubed roasted chicken
  • 1 cup chopped celery, about 2 to 3 stalks
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 large McIntosh or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped – about 2 cups
  • ½ cup toasted chopped pecans
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup shredded or shaved cheese, fontina, Parmesan, cheddar or a blend
  • ½ cup crushed potato chips, optional
Directions
  • Step 1 To roast the squash:
  • Step 2 Rinse the squash and pat dry. Using a large, sharp knife insert the tip in the middle of the squash between one of the ridges, pointing the knife towards the end and away from you. Gently cut through the squash until it is almost cut into, but don’t try and cut through the stem. Remove the knife and pull the squash apart into two separate pieces.
  • Step 3 Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the center of the squash. (Discard the seeds
  • Step 4 don’t toss these down your disposal!)
  • Step 5 Bunch up two pieces of aluminum foil to create a “nest” for each half – this keeps them from rolling around in the pan. Using the tip of a sharp knife, gently prick each squash around the edges and in the center, taking care not to pierce through the skin.
  • Step 6 In each half, add ½ tablespoon butter in the center then sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg around the edges and in the center. Add 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar in the center of each half.
  • Step 7 Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  • Step 8 While the squash bakes, make the chicken salad:
  • Step 9 Mix the chicken with the celery, onion, apples, pecans, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with the kosher salt and pepper and stir to blend together.
  • Step 10 When the squash is tender remove it from the oven. Using a fork gently pull some of the squash away from the skin, mixing it into the melted butter and brown sugar. Leave enough of the flesh around the edges to create a shell to hold the chicken salad.
  • Step 11 Divide the chicken salad between the squash, about 2 scoops each.
  • Step 12 Mix the cheese with the crushed chips and sprinkle over the top of the chicken salad.
  • Step 13 Continue baking, uncovered at 400-degrees for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the chicken salad is heated through.
  • Step 14 Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes before serving.


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