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Acorn Squash with Rye Bread 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 oil
   1 cup chopped onion
   1/4 cup chopped celery
   1/4 cup chopped carrots
   1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
   1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
   1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
   1 cups apples, peeled, cored and chopped
   1/2 cup beer
   1/2 pound day-old rye bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
   3/4 cup precooked, crumbled bacon (1/2 pound before cooking)
   1/2 pound sauerkraut, rinsed throughly and drained
   1/2 to 1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
   1/4 teaspoon pepper
   Salt, 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 thyme, caraway seeds, celery seeds, apples and beer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples have softened, about 5-7 minutes more.

Transfer to a large bowl and add bread cubes, bacon and sauerkraut. Toss to combine. Sprinkle bread mixture with the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, and stir gently until bread is moistened, but not wet. Season with pepper and taste before adding any salt, as many of the ingredients are quite salty. 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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