What do you do with a giant Hubbard squash, whether it’s Golden Hubbard like the one I have here or one of the more common Blue Hubbards? They always seemed a little intimidating to me! This is a mid-size one and it clocks in at over 11 pounds. That’s a lot of squash! But don’t fear. Invite some people over, stuff the squash, and turn it into dinner.
I was going to get a Blue Hubbard since they are so unusual and outside what we think of when we think of winter squash. However, I found this Golden Hubbard Squash and it was just the right size to be an impressive dish without being so big that I would really need to throw a big party to eat it all. 🙂
How big can a Hubbard squash get? 20 pounds is not unusual and I have seen ones that were in the 30-40 range. Most growers have realized that squashes that large are going to have few buyers, though, so smaller Hubbards have been showing up in farm stands in recent years. I’ve even seen very small hybrids that are in the 3-5 pound range. This good! Much less scary.
Like any winter squash, Hubbard squash are rather sweet and can be chopped up, roasted, and used in all the basic winter squash recipes. Soup, pie, simply roasted with brown sugar and butter, tossed in risotto, paired with pasta and cream sauce, and so on. But let’s face it, how often do you have a squash this big in your house? Might as well make the most of it. So I decided to go with a vegetarian, and gluten-free dish, since I was interested in developing a recipe people could serve as a vegetarian centerpiece or impressive side dish at Thanksgiving. However, you can easily add sausage to the stuffing if you wish or use my Sausage Bread Stuffing here in place of the cornbread stuffing.
One note before I get to the recipe – if you make this ahead, do not stuff the squash and refrigerate this all together. It has way too much thermal mass. Which means that it will stay cold in your oven for a very long time and you will be waiting for hours for it to warm all the way through! You will want to set out the squash by itself on the counter for a couple of hours to let it warm up and also have the stuffing warm (or at least room temperature) when you fill it.
- 1 10-12 lb hubbard squash
- 12 cups gluten-free stuffing cornbread cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 onions, finely diced
- ½ tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 apples, diced
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup low or no sodium vegetable stock
- 1 c half and half
- salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cut the top off the squash. You'll want to cut a large enough opening for the stuffing while leaving the cavity nice and deep. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Place the squash cut side down on a large baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until just tender.
- The squash may be wrapped up and refrigerated overnight at this point. Just be sure to take the squash out to warm up for at 2 hours before stuffing and baking.
- Now it's time to make the stuffing! Preheat oven to 350F.
- Put the cornbread into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and some salt and saute until softened and a little brown, about 10 minutes. Add the sage, thyme, and apples and saute for another minute. Put the onion mixture in with the cornbread. Add the pecans, cranberries, egg, stock, half and half, and fresh sage. Mix it all together until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Put the whole cornbread mixture back into the skillet and warm it through before putting it in the squash, 5-10 minutes.
- Put the hubbard squash into a baking dish. Pour the stuffing into the cavity of the squash. Cover the top of the squash with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Take off the foil and bake for 10-15 minutes more, or until well browned.
- Serve whole at the table. Let everyone scoop out some stuffing and then slice off portions of squash for everyone.