Mr. Shaw’s Vegetable Goose
Famous playwright, vegetarian, and cantankerous old bastard George Bernard Shaw was a critic of a great many things, not the most trivial of which, for my purposes here at least, was his disdain for vegetarian faux-meats, “such weak concessions to the enemy as ‘vegetable rabbit,’ ‘vegetable sausage,’ and the like.”
Nonetheless, there was one vegetable beast of which he approved: “‘Vegetable goose’ is, however, to be commended when in season. It is simply a vegetable marrow with sage stuffing and apple sauce.” So, as a particular fan of cantankerous old bastards, I offer my attempt at vegetable goose with a caramelized onion, pecan, and sage stuffing. I made this with two massive zucchinis picked from our garden, but any squash ought to do, though you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly:
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
8 cups bread, cubed
2 tsp coarse salt
A couple generous grinds of black pepper
2 large squashes
Unsweetened apple sauce
Heat about half the oil in a saucepan until hot, but not smoking. Add the onions and drizzle with the remaining olive oil, toss it a bit to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Stir every ten minutes or so for a half hour until the onions have turned a golden brown (a few darker brown spots are fine). Stir in the celery and cook for three or four minutes more. Deglaze with a bit of the vegetable broth, then in a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the remaining ingredients and broth.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice each squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Stuff one side as full as you can make it without spilling over the sides, and pop the other half on top. You can secure the two with the clever placement of a few toothpicks. Cook the bastards in the oven for about twenty-five to thirty minutes or until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
Slice and serve drizzled with a little warmed apple sauce.