Monday, January 9, 2012

stuffing acorns

Is it my imagination or are the squirrels absolutely huge this winter? I know our fence is in rough shape but when some of the neighbourhood squirrels run along it lately it seems to bend. I guess it really is time to get a new fence. And the construction project would maybe distract our boy from his current obsession – the Titanic. He built a lego version of it last week, has been reading one of my husband’s books on the ship and been talking about it non-stop. Last night he was in tears because he “missed the Titanic and will never see it ‘cause it sank”. Oh dear. Never mind that he wants to listen to the “Titanic song” – My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion over and over and then sing it with me when I put him in bed.

But onto something else – I really came here to tell you about a stuffed squash recipe I came up with. I do have to say that I was watching a cooking show on our local PBS station a few weeks ago and a woman did something similar to this although I didn’t get the recipe or really pay attention to what she put in hers. My version is vegetarian but you could make it vegan by leaving out the butter and cheese or add some chopped leftover ham or bacon if you have a die-hard meat eater in the house. You can either stuff halved squash and bake them or peel the squash and mash it into the bottom of a casserole dish and layer the stuffing over the top and bake.

Baked Stuffed Squash
2 acorn squash
1 c cooked brown rice (I used a brown rice/wild rice blend)
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, sliced (optional, I didn't use it the second time I made this)
8-10 mushrooms, sliced
1-1 /2 apples, peeled, cored, diced
1 big handful toasted pinenuts
¼ tsp sage
Grating of fresh nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c grated cheese (choices are gruyere, sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar, etc)

Microwave the squash for about 10 minutes. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and place in a baking dish.

Meantime, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions (if using), mushrooms and apples and cook until tender and slightly brown, ~ 10 minutes adding the sage, some salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg about halfway through the cooking time. When tender, add the pinenuts and rice and stir well to blend. Add most of the grated cheese and mix again.

Season the squash with pepper and a grating of nutmeg, then stuff the rice mixture into the squash centers, mounding the filling. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top.

Bake at 350 deg for 40-60 minutes, until the squash is fork tender.


Baked Squash and Rice Casserole

Prepare the squash and filling as above. Scrape the squash pulp off the squash peel and mash into the bottom of a 9x13 greased casserole dish and season with pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Layer the stuffing over the squash and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top of the dish.

Bake at 350 deg for 40-60 minutes.

unbaked casserole

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