Acorn Squash and Grits Soufflé

I love this time of year with the crisp air and beautiful changing colors of the leaves. It is a season of anticipation, when I start looking forward to the holidays, family gatherings, entertaining, hikes in the woods and soon, skiing. I find it to be a romantic and cozy time of year. Ric and I prepare meals together, stoke up the fireplace and enjoy a quiet meal with a juicy red wine and the dog at our feet. 

The flavors of fall are savory and sweet, and fragrant with herbs and spices that are both warming and comforting. Using gourds and squash as baking and serving vessels is a beautiful way to bring the autumn colors to the table.

Here is a basic grits  soufflé recipe that I’ve added a festive touch to by adding some roasted squash and then baked the souffle in hollowed out acorn squash. It makes a great side dish or vegetarian entree.

INGREDIENTS

1¼ cup milk
3/4 cup roasted squash puree (from 1 split acorn squash, roasted at 450 for 30 minutes and pureed)
1/2 cup quick cooking grits
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
A pinch or two of cayenne pepper
1½ generous cups of Jarlsberg cheese
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
1 scallion, chopped finely
3 eggs, well beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large, heavy saucepan, bring milk just to a boil. Add in grits, stirring quickly with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat and continue stirring until mixture becomes thick in about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, salt, cayenne, cheese, squash puree, sage and scallions, beating well until completely mixed. Beat in eggs.

Pour into four to six small hollowed out acorn squash or greased porcelain ramekins. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned on top and puffed up.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of smoked paprika or Tabasco sauce.

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