Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Delicata Squash Stuffed 2 Ways


Delicata Squash Stuffed 2 Ways. Plated with Cranberry Sauce & Fresh Sage
I've been working on the best stuffed squash recipe known to man and this weekend, I nailed it, so I'm really excited to share it! Because I've been experimenting with this recipe, I actually prepared this delicious delicata squash 2 ways (lucky you!!). The left half of the squash pictured is stuffed with a creamy mushroom and goat cheese risotto with onions, dried cranberries, apple, and pine nuts (It's vegetarian but has dairy). The right side is stuffed with red quinoa, kale, carrots, celery, onions, apples, and pumpkin seeds. It's vegan, 100% guilt-free, and absolutely delicious!
Fresh From Kimball Farm
Step 1: Select your squash. I picked up 3 delicata squash at the Union Square Farmers Market on Saturday morning. Kimball Fruit Farm had them on sale. I think they were 3 for $2! 1/2 of one of these stuffed is a meal, so for $2 + stuffing, you could feed a family of 4 and have leftovers. You can opt for other kinds of squash, but Delicata are abundant right now and their hollow centers are perfect for stuffing. Oh, and you can eat the skins. If you've never had a delicata squash, they are sweet, but not too sweet. They actually taste a lot like sweet potatoes. The flesh has a smooth buttery texture and although I had never eaten one before this fall, they're now my favorite squash.
Scrape out the seeds
Step 2: Preheat the oven to 375. Slice the squash in half (I use a butcher knife to do this) and hollow out the seeds and spongy connective stuff with a spoon.
Step 3: Rub the inside of one 1/2 with some yummy butter (no crappy Land O Lakes!) and the other 1/2 with some olive or coconut oil. If you have lots of fresh herbs on hand, put a few sprigs of sage and/or rosemary in the center of the squash to add some fragrance while it roasts.  Place in a baking dish skin-side-up and roast for 15 minutes at 375. Turn off the oven but leave the squash in there while you finish your stuffing.

Step 4: Prepare the stuffing while the squash roasts.

For the risotto stuffing:
In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt 2 tb of butter. Throw a few sage leaves in there if you have them. The sage will infuse the butter and the browned leaves will make a great (edible) garnish for atop your squash. 
tricolor sage from my garden
Remove the leaves and add 1 medium chopped yellow onion. Saute until the onions are translucent and add 1 c chopped mushrooms (I used hen of the woods because that's what was available at the farmers market, but white button, baby bella, or any other mushroom works too). 
hen of the woods mushrooms from parker farm
Brown the mushrooms, stirring often. Deglaze the pan with some dry white wine then add 12 oz Arborio rice. Stir to coat with butter until rice turns translucent. Add a quart of warm vegetable broth, 1 c at a time, stirring and simmering until each cup is absorbed before adding the next. Add 1 c dried cranberries with your last cup of broth. As the last cup is absorbing, add one 4 oz log of goat cheese and 1/2 c toasted pine nuts. Stir well to combine. Finish with some finely chopped fresh herbs.
Mmmm. Local Goat Cheese.
1 tsp each of sage/rosemary/ tarragon/parsley (any combination works depending on what you have on hand). Last but not least, add 1 small-medium chopped apple and stir. This will add some great texture to the risotto. Feel free to add some salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and cover until you're ready to stuff your squash.
Finished Risotto.

For the quinoa stuffing:
Saute 1 onion, 1 carrot, and 1 celery stalk in 1-2 tb olive oil with 1 tsp red pepper flakes until onion is translucent. Add 1 c chopped kale and cover to wilt the kale. Add 1 c cannellini beans and 1 c cooked quinoa. Adjust quantities of beans, kale, and quinoa to your taste. To bind the stuffing, combine 1/2 c cannellini beans with 1 tb olive oil, 1 clove of garlic, and 3 tb of cranberry sauce (cranberry sauce is optional but adds a great layer of flavor. I'll post my recipe soon!) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Fold this mixture into sauted veggies and beans over low heat. Add 1/2 c toasted pumpkin seeds (I prefer unsalted) and stir until combined.

Stuff your squash!
Remove the squash from the oven and stuff the half that you massaged with butter with the risotto and the other half with the quinoa. Shred some goat gouda over top the risotto one and sprinkle some more pumpkin seeds over top the quinoa one. Pop back in the oven until ready to serve. (Don't bake it for much longer. The squash should be fork tender. If it wasn't cooked through when you stuffed it, bake for another 10 minutes at 350. Otherwise, keep it in the oven at 200 just to keep it warm.) Serve with some cranberry sauce and a side salad.

What's your favorite kind of SQUASH?!