Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Stuffed Squash to Stuff Your Face With
I could have put this with the list of "101 things to do with a Zucchini", but at the store yesterday a beautiful little acorn squash looked up in to my eyes and said in a cute little amigarumi voice "Pick me! pick me!". So naturally I bought it and brought it home to cut, steam, mash and bake. Not quite like a puppy.
My head spun with possibilities. Soup, dip, cassarole, pie... but I settled on the one most likely to be eaten by my veggie averse boyfriend. You will need a hard shelled curcubit of any variety, a selection of veggies and some bread product.
First and foremost we need to slaughter and clean the beast! Cut it in half, scoop out the guts, being sure to reserve the seeds. Place cut side down in a pan with a half inch or so of water and bake in the oven at a fairly hot temp (350-400 F). It will need to sit until it's spoon soft so we shall move on to the rest of it.
Now take your bread scraps... a heel and a bagel for me. They aren't super stale to a cubed them and put them in the oven with the squash until they brown a little.
I opted for a mostly standard mix of stuffing veggies- onion, garlic, celery, carrot, apple and a harvest special, green tomatoes. Chop them small and sauté. Onions first then other crisp veggies (garlic, carrot, green tomatoes). Add herbs and spices as you please, I'm making this part a little salty as the squash is a little sweet. When things are getting limp and a little brown we add the soft veggies (celery, apple) and turn off the stove. Add water to make the broth for softening bread chunks.
At this point the bread is toasted and the squash is moving along. I dropped the bread in a large bowl and added the veggie/broth stuff. Stir it and adjust the liquid as you like.
Now this part is totally optional but if you're throwing out the squash seeds you're wasting a really good treat! I'm going to toast the seeds in a pan instead of the oven, uses a little more oil but I burn less this way. Toss 'em in a lightly oiled pan with some salt and other spices ( I like paprika) and roast them slowly. A medium skillet is usually good to brown without burning. All these seeds came out of that little squash!! You could just mix them in the stuffing, I'm going to put some on top of the squash as a garnish and snack on the rest as I blog.
The squash is now tender and scoopable. I use a small spoon to make small chunks of squash and scoop them into a bowl. You needn't scrape every bit out, and in fact you want to be careful to not break the shell! Mix the squash with about an equal portion of the stuffing mix and press it back into the shell. You may garnish with cheese or such if you like.
Not so hard now was it? The joy of this dish, I'm going to do the final baking later tonight. I could wrap them and put them in the fridge for a few days, or even freeze them. Convienence food for the gormand.