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    Recipe for stuffed acorn squash with chestnuts and apples

    Sally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

    Serves 6

    Apples, chestnuts, sage, and thyme make this a festive side dish that can also double as a substantial option for the vegetarian at your holiday table.

    3small acorn squash, halved and seeded
    2tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    2tablespoons unsalted butter
    1onion, finely chopped
    2stalks celery, finely chopped
    1large tart apple, peeled and
    cut into ½-inch dice
    1teaspoon dried sage
    1teaspoon dried thyme
    1cup (about 5 ounces) peeled
    chestnuts, quartered
    ¼cup vegetable stock
    2cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs

    1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

    2. Arrange the squash in the dish, cut sides up. Brush each with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a skewer.


    3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, celery, apple, sage, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. Stir in the chestnuts, stock, and breadcrumbs. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

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    4. Remove the squash from the oven (leave it on). Mound the filling in each cavity. Return the baking dish to the oven and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the filling is hot and the tops are golden. Total baking time is 60 to 65 minutes.  Sally Pasley Vargas