Carnival squash - baked with mushrooms, cranberries and greens
- 1 Carnival squash
- 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon salted butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- 2 cups spinach or swiss chard (ribs removed), chopped
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons Panko bread crumbs (optional)
- 2 to 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- kosher salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Using a sturdy knife, cut squash in half from stem to bottom. Scoop out seeds and pulp with a spoon and discard. Pierce inside of each squash half a few times with a fork. Baste the inside of each squash half with a teaspoon of real maple syrup. Place squash cut-side-up in a bake dish. Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the dish, cover with foil and bake at 350°F for about 1 hour, or until softened.
(To make ahead: at this point you can cool squash to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Let squash sit out at room temperature while you prepare the filling, then stuff and bake until warmed through.)
To make the filling, adjust oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Toast chopped pecans in butter until fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add olive oil to the same saute pan. Add onion and cook until softened. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4-6 minutes. Add white wine and continue cooking until reduced by half. Add in dried cranberries or cherries and greens. Cook just until greens are wilted. Stir in breadcrumbs (if needed) 1 tablespoon at a time until cooking liquid is absorbed. Season with salt to taste (start with a big pinch, add more if desired). Remove from heat. Fold in chopped pecans and half of the grated cheese. Stuff each half of prepared squash with filling. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Place squash halves on a baking sheet and bake uncovered at 375°F for 10-15 minutes, or until squash is heated through.