You can feel it. Fall is coming and with it the crisp mornings, sparkling frosty windows and a cornucopia of autumn vegetables just waiting for us to create colourful and delicious meals for our family and friends.
I wasn't really a fan of squash until recently. I think the issue was I just didn't know what to do with it. Fast forward to about a year ago and bam! my palate changed AGAIN (I blame menopause). All of a sudden I can't get enough of the squash family. Add in the facts that they are healthy, chock full of nutrients and versatile, and you have a winning combo. Like they just called your last number at bingo winning. I've never gone to bingo personally. I'm saving that for my post meno days when me and my toothless gal pals are out on the prowl. Grrrr...
Now that I've succeeded in creeping you out with that mental picture lets get back to the business of delicious food. Don't be put off by the list of ingredients. A lot of it are oils and spices and this dish is really quite simple to make not to mention easy on the eyes. Kind of like Darryl from the Walking Dead which I am impatiently waiting for.
Savoury Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 Tbsp jar garlic (2 if fresh)
1tbsp soy sauce, low sodium
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (opt)
1 lb lean ground beef ( or turkey/chicken)
favourite hot sauce to personal taste
1/2 Smoked cheddar or Gouda cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut squash in half and remove all seeds with a sturdy metal spoon.
2. Sprinkle squash halves with a bit of salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
3. Place squash cut side down onto a baking sheet. I use parchment t paper to save from having to scrub later. Place in oven for 30 minutes.
4. While the squash cooks heat the olive oil, then sauté the onion, mushrooms and garlic in a preheated large pan over medium heat. When the onions turn light brown add soy sauce.
5. Add pine nuts, spices, herbs. Sauté another 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and reserve.
6. In the same pan brown the ground meat, then drain the excess fat in a colander. Return the meat to the pan, add the hot sauce and reserved mushroom mix. Stir well and heat on low until flavours blend.
7. Remove squash from oven and carefully flip to reveal the hollow side. Fill generously with the meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese to taste and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes until squash is soft.
8. Serve in the shell with a nice rice pilaf for an eye and taste bud popping meal that is sure to impress your family.