Stuffed Acorn Squash

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My mom picked up the October Martha Stewart Living magazine for me the other day. I thumbed through all the cute project ideas for fall, and happened on a recipe towards the back. Beautiful acorn squash, stuffed with a mixture of bulgar wheat, ground beef, acorn squash and other hearty, yummy ingredients. Lo and behold, I had actually picked up an acorn squash at the store. I always love when gourds show up at the store, so I sometimes buy a few...and figure out what to do with them later. So I modified it a bit, but here's my version of Martha's stuffed acorn squash.

Stuffed Acorn Squash (for 2)

Here's what I used:

1 acorn squash
3/4 lb ground beef (calls for 90% lean, but I used what I had, 80/20)
1 cup quick-cook brown rice
1 3/4 cups water
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp good olive oil
2 tsp salt
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

Here's what I did:

Set the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the acorn in half width-wise, and then cut a small amount off of each end so that when flipped over, they will sit flat. Turned upside down onto a baking sheet, and baked for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, heated oil in a stock pot, and added ground beef, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/2 of the salt. Browned, and then reserved ground beef on a plate, using slotted spoon to keep juices in the pot.

Then, I added the onion and allowed it to soften for about 5 minutes. Added in garlic, and let cook for another minute. Finally, I added the rest of the salt, the uncooked brown rice and the water, brought to a boil, and allowed to simmer for 25 minutes (or as directions for your rice state).

By the time the rice mixture is cooked, the squash should be ready to come out of the oven. I did not remove the seeds from the inside prior to cooking, so I used an ice cream scoop (think of it as a giant melon baller) and gently scooped out the seeds and discarded. Then I scooped out most of the inside of each squash (leaving about 1/16" so that the sides don't fall in). This creates our "bowl" for the squash/rice/meat mixture.

Now that the rice was done, I added the ground beef back in, as well as the squash. Mixed well to incorporate all ingredients and then piled them into each "squash bowl". Here's where I deviated. This recipe is pretty sweet, and we tend to go with more savory meals. I sprinkled some shaved parmesan on top.

Then I popped the stuffed squash back in the oven for another 10 minutes so that the cheese would melt, and the mixture would get a little browned on top.

On to reviews. The only complaint I heard, and it was prefaced with "this is not a complaint", was that this was too sweet. Nick went back and added more parmesan to get a little more salt into his mix. I really liked it as it was, very subtle, and a little sweet. And the cinnamon and nutmeg add a really festive, fall-like vibe to the meal. I also did not serve this with anything else. I think it would have been nice with maybe some grilled asparagus or brussel sprouts, but I just ran out of time. Also, having a toddler attached to both legs while I hobble around the kitchen to produce something "gourmet-like", repeatedly saying "Mommy UP! Mommy UP!" tends to wittle down the variety that I can cook up.


Upupaepops said...

It is a sign of Fall when all the squash varieties show up in the store.

I have never used bulger. I need to give this a try

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