Serves 4

  • 4 ea. 5 oz. portions of cod
  • 1 batch sausage stuffing
  • 1 ea. Acorn squash seasoned and roasted
  • 1 batch of rice pilaf
  • Oil, salt and pepper for the cod

Brown sugar roasted acorn squash

  • 1 ea. Acorn squash, halved, seeded and cut into wedges (about 12 pieces per squash)
  • 2 tbls brown sugar
  • 3 tbls melted whole butter
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Sausage stuffing

  • 4 oz. sausage
  • ½ ea. Red bell pepper small diced
  • ½ sweet onion small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbls olive oil

Golden raisin rice pilaf

  • 2 cups par long grain rice
  • 2 2/3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 1 ea. Bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked and chopped
  • ½ ea. Small sweet onion minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and small diced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Directions

I love this wonderful fall dish. It is filling but not heavy and is a great way to roast up some nice fall squash.  Acorn squash is often one of the most underutilized squash, but it is great for roasting because it stays firm and soaks up the butter and brown sugar and has a nice flavor.  The rice pilaf with the raisins and carrots in it has a great fall feel to it and it’s easy to make.

Brown sugar roasted acorn squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, put the squash into a bowl, sprinkle with brown sugar, sea salt and pepper then pour the melted butter over the top and mix the squash around well.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper so the sugar doesn’t burn and stick to your pan, lay the squash in a single layer on the paper.  The squash needs to roast for about 40 minutes, so get it going first and then work on the rice and then the stuffing and cod.  The squash can be made ahead of time quite easily and reheated in 10 minutes.

Sausage Stuffing

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan on medium, crumble the sausage into the pan, cook it and make sure to keep stirring it and chopping it with your spatula to keep the pieces as small as possible.  Scoop the sausage out onto a paper towel to drain, add the onions.  Cook the onions until they start to get a little color to them, add the peppers to the pan and cook until all the vegetables are soft and starting to develop some color, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly to not burn the garlic. Add the sausage back into the pan just to mix everything together, transfer the product to a plate and cool for 10 minutes, and then mix into the cream cheese. 

To stuff the cod, cut a slit into the side of fish all the way down the filet, make sure you don’t cut through to the other side, you just want to make a pocket.  Fill each piece of fish with equal portions of the sausage and cheese mixture, oil each filet and season with sea salt and black pepper and set them in a baking dish.  NOTE: the sausage mixture can be made ahead of time and is easily used as a chicken or omelet stuffing as well.

Golden Raisin Rice Pilaf

Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the carrots and cook until they start to caramelize slightly, add the onions and cook until they soften and start to develop a little color.  Add the rice, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. The rice will cook for 3-4 minutes until it starts to smell like nuts and get a little color to it, don’t burn the rice.  Add the raisins, bay leaf, thyme, coriander, cumin and salt. Stir and heat for 30 seconds then add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Stir it a few times to make sure and release anything from the bottom.  Cover with a lid or foil and cook in the 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and let sit with the lid on for 15 minutes and then stir the rice with a spoon and serve.

If everything is being made at the same time, start the squash first as it will take the longest time, then put the rice in the oven and while that is cooking get the sausage stuffing made, stuff the cod and bake it.  The cod will take about 20 minutes because of the stuffing so they should go in when you take the rice out.

This is a great dish and very fun to make for a dinner party with sweet and salty flavors.

Recipe by Chris Garr, Executive Chef of Ivar’s (link to https://www.ivars.com/)