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Acorn Squash with Chestnut Cranberry Stuffing
Appliance: Slow Cooker - 6 quarts and larger
Also Requires: Rice Cooker - 4 cup capacity and larger
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This recipe is great for Holiday Dinners
   3 – 4 small acorn squash
   Salt and pepper, to taste
   1/2 cup water

For the Stuffing:
   2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
   1 small onion (about 6 ounces), diced
   1 carrots, peeled and diced
   1 celery stalk, diced
   2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped OR 1 teaspoon dried
   1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
   1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
   10 to 12 ounces roasted or steamed chestnuts, peeled and coarsely broken
   1/2 cup dried cranberries
   1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped (dried not recommended)
   1/2 pound day-old bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
   1/2 to 1 cup lower sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth
   Salt and pepper, to taste
   1 egg, lightly beaten

Wash squash. Using a vegetable cleaver, cut in half through the stem to the base. If you don't have a cleaver, you can first slice off the stem end (which can be very tough to cut through). Scoop out the seeds and fibers. Sprinkle the flesh with a little bit of salt and pepper.

Pour the water into the bottom of your slow cooker's crock or inner bowl. Put squash into the crock, skin side down, stacking them as necessary. Cover and cook on high 2 1/2 hours. While squash cooks, prepare the stuffing.

Melt butter or heat oil in a rice cooker's inner bowl or in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes. Add sage, thyme, rosemary, chestnuts and cranberries and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes, until herbs are fragrant.

Transfer to a large bowl and add bread cubes and parsley. Toss to combine. Sprinkle bread mixture with stock, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir gently until bread is moistened, but not wet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in the egg.

Generously spoon stuffing into the cavity of the cooked squash, mounding extra stuffing above the top of the squash, if desired. Restack squash halves in the slow cooker. Continue cooking on High until stuffing reaches 165 degrees (F) and squash flesh is tender throughout, about 1 hour.

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