Holidays with such a strong focus on food can be a bit daunting for the newly diagnosed Celiac. Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas and Easter all have a part of them that is dedicated to food. Food which is often off limits to those who have to eat gluten free. For Halloween it's all that delicious candy, Easter bunnies might have a hard time trying to feed a Celiac who is also partially allergic to chocolate (myself) and then Thanksgiving and Christmas are filled with stuffing and gravy, which are loaded with gluten.
My first Thanksgiving, my Mom made me a rice based stuffing. It was good, but just not the same stove top boxed stuffing I knew and loved. So the following Christmas I endeavored to try making stuffing from scratch and us Energ-e Gluten Free Bread instead. I don't think I've ever eat the bread straight up, as it smells incredibly yeasty ... however, it is great to toast and use as stuffing. My Mom had big doubts about how this stuffing was going to turn out, so she made regular stuffing for the rest of the family and mine was the optional version. Well, ever since that infamous day, our family only eats one kind of stuffing ... the gluten free kind! Everyone liked my stuffing so much that they demand I make it now instead of their old traditional stuffing. Score one for team Celiac!
The year that I made the stuffing, Canadian Living came out with a themed magazine and I used several recipes from it and they all turned out brilliantly, even if I had to make one or two minor adjustments to them. Here is there stuffing recipe which I adapted.
Spinach, Bacon and Cashew Stuffing in Acorn Squash
-Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine
6-10 Slices of Bacon, chopped
1/3 cup Butter
1 large Yellow Onion
1/4 Fresh Sage, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bag of fresh Spinach, trimmed (or 1 package of frozen spinach)
1 loaf of Energ-e GF Bread, cubed
1/2 coarsley chopped Unsalted Cashews
1 cup of GF Chicken Stock
3/4 cup Whipping Cream
4-6 Acorn Squash
Start by preparing the stuffing portion first as it requires time in the refigerator, then we'll move onto the squash. First you will need to cube all of your GF bread and place it on a cookie sheet. Then put it in the oven and toast it, perhaps 15 minutes at 350 degrees F ... you'll have to keep a close eye on it so that it doesn't burn. While your bread is toasting, you can cook the bacon on medium heat. Remove it from the pan and drain it on some paper towel (set aside).
In the same pan melt the butter and fry up the onions, sage, salt and pepper (about 1/4 tsp each). Next slowly add the spinach until wilted. Place this mixture in a large bowl along with the bacon, toasted bread and chopped nuts.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together whipping cream, chicken stock and eggs. Pour this over the bread mixture and mix well. Place the stuffing mixture into the fridge and allow it to soak up the liquid for about an hour. If you leave the stuffing in it's bowl, remember to stir it occasionally to allow even coating, or pour it into a large baking dish for even distribution.
While your stuffing is sitting, prepare the Acorn Squash. Wash the outside skins, cut them in half, scoop out the inside to remove the seeds and make the opening a little bit wider, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then place cutside down on a foil lined and greased cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees F and then remove from the oven.
Once the both the stuffing and squash are ready, flip the acorn squash over and fill them with the uncooked stuffing. Return to the oven for another 30 minutes.