Stuffed Acorn Squash

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I grew up eating a LOT of acorn squash. My mom grew it in the backyard (if I remember correctly, Mom, is that true?) and we kept a box of squash in the basement through the winter, eating it at least once a week. The past few years I branched out and used a lot of butternut and kabocha, and even went so far as to say I liked them much better than acorn. Well, this recipe changes the game a little bit. I think it was a little premature to dismiss acorn from my favorite squash list, because now I’m tempted to put it right up at the top.

This dish is perfect for Fall, which I realize is now over, but since I was in Korea and working with a very limited range of ingredients, I’m perfectly content making Fall foods long into winter. The nutmeg, cinnamon, and golden raisins really enhance the sweet butteriness of the squash, and the bulgar and garbanzo beans make it nice and filling. I found it on the fabulous blog Arugulove, which calls this “the perfect meal.” I have to say, I think I agree!

Recipe:
(adapted from Arugulove, originally from Martha Stewart, October 2009)

3 small to medium acorn squashes halved and seeded
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp. course salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1 1/4 cups cooked or canned garbanzo beans

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the squash halves cut-sides down in a greased 9×13 inch casserole dish or roasting pan. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

While the squash is in the oven, heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the onions, cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and fragrant (5 to 7 minutes) adding 2-3 tbsp of water after the first two or three minutes to keep the onions from drying out or burning.

Add garlic, and cook for an additional minute.

Add remaining teaspoon salt and the bulgur, and stir to combine. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit covered for 5 minutes.

Fluff the bulgar with a fork, and add the raisins, parsley, pine nuts and garbanzo beans. Stir together to combine and adjust seasonings if necessary

When the squash is soft, take it out of the oven. Let it cool a little and scrape out enough of the flesh to form 1/4 inch thick bowls.

Mix the squash flesh into the bulgur mixture. Divide among squash halves, and return them to the oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, about 12 to 14 minutes.

Serves 6.

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