(from left front, Kabocha, Delicata, Golden Nugget, Butternut and Acorn)
The variety of autumn squash available seems to have exploded. Whether I am at the farmers market, grocery store or Trader Joes the number of different squash has caught my attention. I started buying (collecting) different squash not really sure how I would prepare them. In recent years, Butternut squash had become a favorite, cubed and oven roasted or taken a step further and pureed into a soup. But my current squash collection had expanded beyond Butternut squash to Kabocha, Delicata, Golden Nugget and Acorn. I really wanted to buy more, I was intrigued with the different shapes and colors and curious how they may vary in taste. But some self control took charge and the realization it was early in the squash season.
Oven roasting has always been a favorite, it brings out the sweetness and concentrates the flavors. I was also thinking about Thanksgiving…maybe my squash would be a new side dish or a vegetarian alternative. I decided to roast and stuff my squash. The stuffing options were limitless. I searched my pantry and refrigerator and decide on (found) the following; sprouted rice trio of brown, red and wild rice, leeks, garlic, pecans, parsley and chicken. (This variation would not be vegetarian since I had some left over chicken.) For additional flavor I added salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, zhoug (a Middle Eastern condiment/spice blend of coriander leaves, parsley, chili, garlic, cardamom, and cloves.) I felt like the stuffed squash were a warm up for preparing my Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing, it occurred to me that my cornbread stuffing could also be used to stuff the squash (take note for vegetarian Thanksgiving guests).
Roasted Stuffed Squash
adapted from the kitchn.com
3 squash, I used Golden Nugget, Delicata and Acorn
1-1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1-1/2 cups leeks, halved and thinly sliced
3 cups cooked rice, I used TruRoots Sprouted Rice Trio of brown, red and wild rice
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Zhoug
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup Fontina, shredded
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
2. Cut the squash in half from stem to root end. Scoop out the seeds. Place squash halves in a baking dish cut side down. Fill the baking dish with hot water to fill the pan by 1/4 inch. Cover with foil.
3. Roast the squash for 30-50 minutes. The roasting times will vary depending on the size and type of the squash. Remove the squash halves as they become tender when poked with a knife tip.
4. While the squash is roasting, in a large bowl combine the stuffing ingredients (all remaining ingredients except the cheese and olive oil) and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
5. When all the squash is tender turn them cut side up in the baking dish. Brush the inside of the squash with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Fill the squash halves with the stuffing mixture and top with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and stuffing is warm.
Half a squash serves one person.