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- 3 acorn squash, about 4 ½ pounds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup shallots, chopped
- ½ cup sweet onion, diced (such as Vidalia)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 peeled and cored ripe Bosc pear, chopped
- ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon fresh sage minced, about 2–3 leaves
- Pinch Cayenne pepper
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ cup brandy
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Chopped crystallized ginger
- Fried sage leaves (small leaves work best)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Snap the stem off each squash and when inverted, if the squash does not sit flat, trim a little off until it does. Do this for the bottom as well. Cut each squash in half on the horizon and remove and discard seeds.
- Line a 9×13-inch pan with foil and place each squash half face up. Divide salt, pepper, allspice and butter between the six halves.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake until almost fork tender, about one hour. The squash should be almost tender. The flesh will be removed in another step and cooked further.
- While squash are baking, in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and add shallots and onion. Cook until tender and translucent, about five minutes. Lower temperature if they start to get too browned.
- Add garlic, pear, ginger, sage, cayenne and nutmeg and cook for two minutes.
- Add brandy and cook until the brandy has evaporated. Add stock and Worcestershire sauce and remove from heat until the squash has finished baking.
- Once the squash is cooked, pour butter that pooled in each squash into the pot. Cool the squash until it can be handled and remove all flesh from the skin and add to the pot. Discard skins.
- Heat the pot to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Using an immersion blender, puree to smooth.
- If you are using the optional garnishes, fry the sage leaves in a thin sheen of hot oil on both sides to crisp and remove to a paper towel. Mince the candied ginger then sprinkle both on top of each serving.
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