Butternut Squash and Corn Bread Stuffing Muffins

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Makes 12

These are so cute and I like to make these ahead of time and rewarm them so I have room in the oven for all the turkeys.
One 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
Vegetable oil, for rubbing
1 tablespoon canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound prepared corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes You can use a mix or make homemade corn bread)
1/2 pound Italian sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, cut into a small dice
1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped sage
2 teaspoons sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Preheat the oven to 350°. Arrange the squash halves cut sides up on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub with oil. Season with salt and pepper and turn the squash cut sides down. Roast for about 1 hour, or until tender. Let cool slightly.

Increase the oven temperature to 375°. Spread the corn bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until toasted. Let cool completely. Leave the oven on.

Generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin. In a medium skillet, cook the sausage over moderate heat until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel–lined plate. Heat the fat in the skillet plus 1 tablespoon oil. Add the red onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the celery, garlic and sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the celery is softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the sausage.

Peel the roasted squash. Transfer 3 cups of the squash to a food processor, add the sugar and puree until smooth. Season the mixture with salt, add the eggs and process until incorporated. Add the chicken stock and process again.

In a large bowl, combine the toasted corn bread with the squash puree and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir lightly, add the onion-sausage mixture and 1 teaspoon of salt and stir again. Mound the stuffing in the prepared muffin cups. Wrap any extra stuffing in a piece of heavy-duty foil.

Bake the muffins and any extra foil-wrapped stuffing in the upper third of the oven for about 40 minutes, until crisp on top and heated through. Unmold the stuffing muffins and serve hot.

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