Chef’s Winter Recipes: James Clark’s Stuffed Acorn Squash

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James Clark is the Executive Chef at the award-winning Carolina Crossroads Restaurant at The Carolina Inn – one of only three Forbes Four-Star restaurants in North Carolina and an AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant. Chef Clark is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where he met his pastry chef wife Marcey. After graduation, he further honed his expertise in several renowned restaurants across the country.


Chef Clark has received several recognition and awards including: 5 Star Award from the National Restaurant Science Association; featured in Bon Appétit Magazine for cutting edge cuisine in “Places to Eat Now”; Santé Award Winner for Sustainability; guest chef at the St. Michaels Food and Wine Festival; featured chef for the March of Dimes Celebrity Chef event in Washington, D.C.; and received rave reviews from the Washingtonian Magazine, Roll Call Magazine, Where Magazine, Washington Flyer, The Hill, Washington Business Journal and the Washington Times.

“I am all about simple food and great flavor by letting the ingredients speak for themselves and acquiring great local products,” said Chef Clark when asked about his cooking philosophy.


Chef Clark has the the perfect recipe that would surely warm us up this Winter season. His “Stuffed Acorn Squash” recipe makes for a delicious, colorful side dish for any special holiday dinner.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 local Acorn Squash
2 sticks Butter Unsalted
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Toasted Pecan Pieces
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Pinch of Kosher Salt


1. First Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
2. Cut the Acorn Squash in 1/2 from the point end to the root end so it is an oval shape. Scoop out the seeds, discard them and set the squash to the side.
3. In an electric mixer, whip the 2 sticks of butter until they have almost doubled in size about 6-8min. Turn mixer to a slow speed and add in the rest of the ingredients and make sure they are mixed well you may have to stop the mixer and using a rubber spatula scraping the bottom of the bowl so everything is mixed well.
4. Once everything is mixed scrape the butter mix out of the bowl and stuff inside the cavity of the Acorn Squash until it is right to the top and make sure it is packed in tightly. If you have remaining butter place into a zip lock bag and save to do again latter.
5. Once the squash is stuffed place them on a cookie sheet and slid into the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hour. Pull them out and if the flesh is soft then it is ready. 6. Take the squash and place them in to the refrigerator over night so that the stuffing can firm up.
7. The next day or the day you are ready to serve place the squash skin side up and slice into 1/2 moon shapes about an inch think and then shingle them into a baking dish.
8. Pour about 1/2 cup of Water into the dish and cover with foil and re-warm them in the oven at 300 degrees and serve.

Note: This recipe should be done the day before so it can set up to be sliced the next day.

The Carolina Inn is located at 211 Pittsboro St Chapel Hill, NC 27516.

Hours of Operation

Monday - Saturday — 6:30AM – 11:00PM
Sunday — 6:30AM – 10:30PM
Everyday — 11:30AM – 2:00PM
-Afternoon Tea-
Thursday – Sunday — 2:30PM – 4:30PM
Everyday — 5:30PM – 9:00PM (open until 10:00PM Friday & Saturday)
Bar 11:30 am  — 11:00 pm
Sunday Brunch — 11:30 am – 2:00 pm

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Chef Ken

Chef Ken

A chef by profession, a foodie at heart. He's been passionate about food and cooking since he was young. He is the online Community Manager of FriendsEAT.
Chef Ken