Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tasty Thursday: Stuffed Acorn Squash

 This dish just screams fall. There are a few steps but the pay off is huge. But wait! Don't run off. Remember, I told you I love to cook but I'm sorta lazy with it? Do you think this dish would be in my repetoire if it was really that difficult?  

You'll need
Acorn squash (or any squash, butternut, pumpkin etc)
ground turkey
dried cranberries
salt and pepper

See, it just got less complicated, didn't it?

Preheat your oven to 425. Clean your squash (I use a spray of 1 part white vinegar, 2 parts water) and cut them in half. If you find it too difficult to cut thru your squash, you can pop them in the microwave for a couple minutes and it will soften them enough to help you cut thru them. 

TIP: Use an ice cream scoop to clean our the squash! Super fast and easy! It just keeps getting less complicated. 

Now you'll want to give your squash a flat bottom so that it will sit on the plate nicely without wobbling. To do this, lay your squash down and see where it goes off and just slice a small section out to make it flat. 

Prick the inside of each of the halves. This helps the butter seep in. Set them in a lasagna pan. This is a 13x13, I think. Liberally salt and pepper them and put a pat of butter in each. You COULD skip this step, but the butter helps keep the couscous mixture moist and flavors the squash itself. If you opt out of the butter, I'd splash some chicken stock into the squash mixture.
Get a big pitcher of water and put the pan in the oven. Once it's in, pour water into the bottom of the pan so that it comes about half way up the gourds. Let them cook for about 40 mins. Test with a fork to see how easily it goes in and comes out.

While the squash is cooking, heat some olive oil over medium high heat in a deep pan. Brown the ground turkey. Add the onions and garlic about half way thru. Make the couscous according to directions on the package.

Roast the walnut pieces on a cookie sheet for about 10 mins in the same oven. Or, use a dry pan to roast them for a few minutes. You want pieces of walnuts, so depending on what you buy, you may have to chop them up a bit before roasting them. 
Run your knife thru the dried cranberries. Once the couscous is cooked, fluff it with a fork and add it, the walnuts and cranberries in with the turkey mixture. Try not to eat it all before the squash is done. Not that I ever had that problem *grins*

When the squash is cooked, carefully remove the pan to a near by counter top and lift the squash out. I use a set of tongs and a spoon. 

Then fill each squash with the turkey mixture. I like to use my ice cream scooper with the lever to push it out. What is that called? Anyway, you know what I mean. It just makes the transfer of the mixture easier. I used three squash/six halves and this was the perfect ratio with the mix. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

3 Acorn squash (or any squash, butternut, pumpkin etc)
1 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 box Wild Herb and Mushroom couscous (or flavor of your choice)
1/4- 1/2 cup walnut
1/4-1/2 dried cranberries
about 6 tbs butter
Salt and Pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 425. Clean and cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds. Cut the bottom of the squash to sit flat, if needed. Prick with fork all over inside, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place a pat of butter in each half. Cook in a water bath for 40 mins, or until tender.
Brown ground turkey in extra virgin olive oil, add onion and garlic half way through. Cook couscous according to package directions. Toast walnuts (about 10 mins in the oven with the squash), Chop dried cranberries and add all ingredients to the ground turkey. Salt and pepper if needed.
Spoon mixture into cooked squash halves and serve.
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