As with most of the things I cook, this “recipe” is pretty loosey-goosey with lots of ways you can adapt it to suit what you have when you want to make it. I’m calling this recipe “take 1” because this is just one set of ingredients you can use.
The basic pieces are:
- the squash (acorn, delicada, hubbard, all work well)
- some substantial protein to stuff with (sausage meat, ground meat, quinoa, beans)
- some grain to stuff with (rice, bread crumbs, quinoa, couscous, bulgur)
- some vegetables to stuff with (onion, garlic, celery, carrot, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, apples, green beans, peas, corn, anything really will work)
- some serious seasoning
Quantities are tricky because it depends on how big your squash is. Think smaller, and you’ll be more successful.
Here’s the basic method:
Step 1: pre-roast your squash. My tried-and-true method of roasting is as follows: 1. cut in half, 2. cover the bottom of a baking dish in water, 3. place squash flesh-down in baking dish, 4. cook at 450 F for 40 min or until tender.
Step 2: prepare your grain stuffing: if you’re adding rice or another grain that requires cooking, start that next. If you are using bread crumbs, make sure they are ready to go.
Step 3: sautee your vegetables. I cook veggies first because they can be safely set-aside to keep just warm while meat cooks (meat isn’t as safe sitting out after cooking). Start with onion (you have to have some onion) then add the rest in slowly, in order of length of cooking time. I usually chop-as-I-go to save time. Add lots of seasoning throughout cooking. Set aside veg when cooked.
Step 4: cook your meat/beans until cooked through. Season while cooking.
Step 5: combine all stuffing parts: grain, veg and protein and stir thoroughly.
Step 6: magically, hopefully, your squash will now be ready! remove it from the oven when done and scrape out some of the cooked squash flesh, leaving enough inside so that the squash half can maintain its shape. Combine this removed squash flesh with your stuffing.
Step 7: stuff squash halves and top (with cheese, parmesan, bread crumbs, butter). Return to oven at same temperature for 10 minutes.
Serve in the lovely colourful squash halves, guests I find are always excited to dig-into this dish, it’s as if everyone has their own personal mini-casserole!
For those who might think this generic method is insane, here’s as precise as I can get with what I made tonight:
1 Acorn Squash
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 rib celery, sliced fine
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup multigrain breadcrumbs
1 cup ground turkey
2 tbsp Boquet Garnis (1.5 for veg, .5 for meat)
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp grated parmesan
*If you use meat, make sure it is cooked-through, and if you are using anything but sausage, season your meat liberally with salt, pepper and spices.
Follow method above for this particular set of ingredients.