If you’re looking for a special gluten-free side dish for an upcoming holiday gathering, this is an impressive and delicious option. Acorn squash has a nutty flavor and hearty flesh, similar to a butternut. I chose to microwave the whole squash for about two minutes a piece in order to make them easier to cut. This also reduced the roasting time by about five minutes and didn’t impact the overall flavor or texture.
The heart of the dish is the sautéed apple with currants and curry butter. Some spice brands add flour as an anti-caking agent to their spice mixes. I use Spice Hunter because they promise theirs is gluten free, but you could easily make your own. The recipe calls for Granny Smith but any tart apple will do. I substituted dried cranberries and tart cherries for the currants and didn’t notice a difference. If you have a good butter substitute, such as Earth Balance, this could easily be made vegan. You can make the filling one day ahead, but I’ve never found it labor intensive enough to bother. Remember to salt and pepper to taste before roasting!
One of the reasons this is such a great special occasion dish is that it’s beautiful. The slices of acorn squash almost look like big stars. You need a good, wide spatula to transfer from the baking dish to the plate, so I recommend roasting the squash in an attractive oven safe serving dish if you plan to make this for company. The skin remains tough even after roasting, so I prefer not to eat it, but I leave it on because it’s decorative and difficult to remove when the squash is raw.
To turn this into a vegetarian main, I served this with sautéed kale and shallots. We have enough leftover to take some squash-stars to lunch this week. It’s savory with a subtle sweetness from the apples and dried fruit. I love it! I hope you will, too.
Apple-Filled Acorn Squash Rings via Epicurious
Bon Appétit November 2001