Monday, November 16, 2015

Stuffed acorn squash



What's appeasing to the eyes fills the belly well. Said someone once. Might have been me. So starts my story in scoring the most beautiful pieces of acorn squash ever. There is no dearth in gourds, grain, rice, corn that show up in market piles, everywhere in seasonally characteristic orange/gold/brick, hues that should be painting this part of the hemisphere, but are directly averse to my immediate world, the one of a thousand prickly trees, where "cactus green" is in vogue 365 days of the year. So, why can't I  love the blatant consumerism calling for cutest/warmest/fuzziest chunky sweater, beauteous store displays indicative of that-time-of-the year, heralding all that's warm, glowy, and cinnamon scented? Though possibly, don't you think the pumpkin latte rant has gone way too far?

Coming back to food, always and forever our recurring theme anyways, the dynamics of visual persuasion directly works in line here, when catching glimpse of deeply pigmented produce and the goodness of harvest it promises. Your inclination to buy becomes an overzealous purchase, to the tune of, well, let's feed the family, and throw in the neighborhood too.

Today, these ridged beauties fulfill their greater destiny, going beyond the 101 reasons why I love acorn squash. I believe the sweet flesh of Acorn sans much gilding is amazing on its own. But when it commits to multi purpose causes, amassing huge flavor and grand texture, you're appreciation for the gorgeous gourd rises several fold.

Transformed into edible meal pots, the squash roasts become far superior to any bread bowl, lending distinct impression to a mealmaking medley that packs its insides. Caramelbrowned onions, bright-crisp vegetables, enriching duo of of meats, wine for sharpness, balance and fluffy quinoa are just part and parcel of what could be the ultimate party in your mouth. With each element leaning and offering its own, a monumental transfiguration happens once the whole show comes together, warranting a fantasticness almost impossible to mess up.

Of course, the best part is that once you wipe through the contents, you're then ready to eat the vessel itself. Satisfying comfort in a bowl, from the bowl and of the bowl.
Really, can you and do you ask for more?

Of course, I'm not forgetting those seeds, scooped out and toasted with just the right pinch of this and that. Topped with this oomph garnish, you are given a total snout to tail experience, mind you, in a way more wholesome sense.

Refashion ingredients to suit your tastes, it's the broadest blueprint,  one of take-and- make- epic standard and an integral part of your Autumnal menu. Why, with all those holidays rolling in, you're bound to make it for company twice over. In which case, I think I need an invite as well.

Late I know, but I am squeezing it out before another week creeps up on me and I'm well into back to back runs of Hallmarks' countdown to Christmas.
Gorgeous gatherings


Ingredients: 
  • 4 acorn squash 1-1.5 lbs each
  • cooking spray
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ lb ground chicken
  • ¼ lb ground chorizo
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup sliced mushrooms
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 2-3 tbsp sliced almonds
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa, cooked according to package instructions
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ cup  shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  • roasted squash seeds (optional

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 375°. 
  • Cut a thin slice off bottom round of each squash to create a base and have it stand upright. Cut off 1 inch from top part of each squash and scoop out seeds and middle. Don't throw the seeds away.
  • Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Place each squash open flesh side down on a greased foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake until tender, 30-40 minutes, depending on size of squash.
  • While squash roasts, prepare filling.
  • In a large non stick skillet, heat oil over medium flame.
  • Add onion, garlic, red pepper and ground meats. Cook until meats are cooked through and slightly browned.
  • Add celery, carrots, mushrooms. Saute for a few minutes until vegetables soften.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in wine. Scrape through the bottom of pan and deglaze any bits.
  • Add kale, almonds and cook for an additional minute until kale wilts. Turn off heat.
  • Mix in cooked quinoa, parsley and oregano and stir all ingredients thoroughly.
  • Once squash is cooked, remove from oven and flip each one over so they form bowls.
  • Divide filling equally between squash.
  • Sprinkle with cheese (optional).
  • Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.
  • When serving top each squash with roasted seeds.
~ To save on time, roast seeds as you bake the stuffed squash. Just line a large baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray. Pinch away any flesh or strings from the extracted seeds, wash and dry on towel. Arrange on prepared tray and toss with oil, salt and few sprinkles of cayenne or black pepper. Place under the sheet of squash, in lower two-thirds of oven and roast till brown, about 15 minutes.

Nov 2014~Chili roasted cauliflower
Nov 2013~ Peanut butter oreo blondies
Nov 2012~ Stuffed chicken
******
 "And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
James 3:18

6 comments:

  1. They look so pleasing to the eyes... Such a complete meal...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rafeeda..it is a complete meal.

      Delete
  2. they look amazing and pretty...and the filling seems to be bursting out so many flavours...it has to be delicious...looks yumm

    ReplyDelete
  3. They look really beautiful and delicious.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!