Colossal Shrimp Sauteed in a Grand Marnier Orange Dill Sauce and Served in a Braised Acorn Squash Boat

In two words… utterly divine. Sweetly aromatic yet substantial, this decadently hearty fare will enlighten your sense of taste and reacquaint you with your love of shrimp. Shared by Chef Jose Espinoza of Trestles Coastal Cuisine in Castle Pines, these pleasingly plump Colossal shrimp are a righteous, proper protein for any appetite. The creamy, versatile acorn squash (aka pepper squash or Des Moines squash) harmonizes as a rustic but delicate vegetable. The taste of these two, married by the loving cloak of a brilliant but mellow orange sauce, is surprisingly settling. 

     Straightforward to prepare with readily available ingredients, this just may become your go-to dish for a fun dinner party or even unexpected company. This collaboration of lush Colossal shrimp and earthy acorn squash, warmly kissed by a tangy, caramel-orange liqueur essence and touched by fresh dill, is sure to impress even the most stringent of foodies, including those who surround your table every evening.



+ 2 whole acorn squash

+ 1 pound salted butter

+1/2 cup brown sugar

+ 1/4 cup white sugar

+ 2 cups Grand Marnier

+ 1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

–          Reserve zest of 1 orange for sauce

+ 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

–          Reserve zest of 1 lime for sauce

+ 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

+ 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic

+ 20 tail-on Colossal shrimp, peeled/deveined

+ 4 ounces dry white wine

+ 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill, stems removed

+ Dash kosher salt and pepper

+ 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice



For Acorn Squash:

Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise, from the stem end to the point. Using a spoon, carve out seeds and all fibrous material to create a smooth bowl in the center. Place squash bowl-side-up in a 4-inch-deep baking pan.

For Orange Caramel Sauce for Acorn Squash:

In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup salted butter. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar and simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat. Whisk occasionally or until the sugar begins to melt and thicken. Slowly add 1 cup of Grand Marnier and stir until incorporated. Simmer another 5 minutes. Ladle sauce into the prepared acorn squash, as full as possible. Cover the pan of the filled squash with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour in a 350-degree oven. Squash should be tender but not overly soft. Reserve for plating in a warm place.

For Orange Grand Marnier Sauce for Shrimp:

In a bowl, combine 1 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, 1 cup Grand Marnier and the zest of 1 orange and 2 limes. Reserve for sauteing shrimp.

For Preparing Shrimp

In a saute pan, add 8 tablespoons of butter, 1/3 cup finely sliced red onion, 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, 20 Colossal shrimp and a dash of salt and pepper. Saute shrimp until both sides have just turned color, reaching about a medium rare. Remove shrimp from pan and keep warm. Deglaze pan with 4 ounces of white wine. Add orange Grand Marnier sauce and reduce until it slightly coats a spoon, regarding the level of thickness. Reincorporate the reserved shrimp and continue to reduce the sauce while the shrimp is in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature, stirring continually to incorporate. Garnish with 1 tablespoon of fresh minced dill just before plating.


Empty acorn squash of all remaining orange caramel. Place acorn squash on plate and layer shrimp in each half, drizzling orange Grand Marnier sauce over each. Pair this with fragrant Jasmine rice to best complement the sauce. Serves 4. Enjoy!