Sausage-Stuffed Eight Ball Squash with Brie

[serves 2]

2 small eight ball squash, washed and dried

juice of 1/2 lemon

2 t extra-virgin olive oil

1 hot smoked sausage, chopped into small chunks

1 t fennel seeds, smashed

1 scallion, finely chopped [if you can get your hands on fennel bulb, try adding that instead -- 1/4 bulb, coarsely chopped]

2 dried figs, coarsely chopped

2 oz Brie cheese, sliced 1/4″ thick, about 4 slices — you can remove the rind, but we rather like it

Preheat the oven to 350° and prepare a double-boiler.

Cut the top off each squash, 1/2 inch from top; keep lids. With a pointy spoon, dig the flesh carefully out, making sure to not make a hole at the bottom, creating a 1/2 inch-thick shell. Discard seeds if large enough. Chop flesh roughly and set aside for stuffing.

Steam squash shells and lids for 6 minutes or until tender, but still hold their shape. Run cool water over them to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the smoked sausage and fennel seeds and cook until fragrant and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a bowl. Return the skillet to the heat, add the chopped scallion, figs and chopped squash and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Add to the sausage.

Arrange the squash snugly in a baking dish and stuff with the sausage mixture. Top with the lids, cover with foil and bake until the squash are soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside the lids and divide the Brie among the stuffed squash. Bake, uncovered, until the Brie melts, about 5 minutes [I had to broil mine a little at the end to really melt it]. Top with the lids and serve at once.

squirrel bread original.