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Serves 8-10 as a side
for the potatoes:
- 2 medium large acorn squash
- 4 Tbs butter
- 2-3 Tbs light brown sugar
- sprinkling of ground cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
- apple cider for helping steam the squash
- aluminum foil for wrapping baking dish
- as many peeled and cubed potatoes as you like
- lightly salted water to cover in a deep stainless steel pot
- butter to taste
- heavy cream or milk to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
Since the acorn squash will take longer than the mashed potatoes, start with those about 1 ½ hours before you think the turkey will be done, by cutting them in half from top to bottom and then scooping the seeds out.
Place them, cut side up, in a large baking dish and add a dollop of butter to each cavity, as well as a pinch of brown sugar, a little cinnamon and salt and pepper. Then pour 1-2 cups of apple cider into the base of the dish and tightly sealing the whole thing with aluminum foil. (The apple cider will help the squash steam and stay moist.)
Place the baking dish on the lower rack of the oven, underneath the roasting turkey and, depending on the size of the squash, it'll take an hour or more to bake.
After the squash has been in the oven for at least a half hour, get the potatoes going by peeling and cubing as many as you think you'll need and adding them to a deep pot with enough water to cover. (It’s important to make sure they're cut into similar shapes and sizes so that they cook in the same amount of time.)
Once the potatoes are cooked through, but before they are too soft, turn the heat off and pour them into a colander in the sink and let them drain like that for a few minutes.
(Don’t forget that, while the turkey is in the oven, you'll want to baste the turkey with some of the pan juices once in a while)
Put the well drained potatoes back into the pot with a couple of Tbs of butter and a little splash of heavy cream or milk and salt and pepper to taste and use a potato masher to mash them up.
Start with a little cream or milk and add more if you need too and, once you're happy with the consistency, put a tightly fitting lid on top to keep them warm while the rest of the meal is finishing up.
You can tell when the squash is done when you can easily insert a knife into the flesh and be aware that, if the acorn squash is particularly thick walled, it could take over an hour to cook.
The timing is tough so do your best as far as when you think the turkey will finish up and keep everything covered and warm until you're ready to plate the whole thing.