I mean, will you take a look at those mutant squash? Isn't that just so damn seasonal? The great thing about acorn squash is you can cram an entire meal into the pit of the squash. I just decided to get creative in my tiny kitchen and see what I could do with this lovely little guy.
Here's what you'll need:
- 2 acorn squash
- 1 cup of quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb of sweet Italian sausage, without the casing!
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cups of kale, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, boned and diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 2 cloves of garlc, chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 cup gouda cheese, grated
There are many ways to roast winter squash. I have even heard of some people nuking them in the microwave. I prefer to roast them in the oven. Start by preheating the oven to 375. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff. You'll be left with a lovely pit about the size of a baseball. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and fresh chopped garlic. Roast the squash face up on a cookie sheet or a baking dish for about 30 minutes or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork.
While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa according to the package directions. I use chicken stock to give the quinoa a little more flavor. Once the quinoa comes to a boil, you cover and reduce the heat for 15 minutes. While the quinoa is doin its thing, brown the sausage. Now, my last endeavor with acorn squash last winter was with chorizo and spicy mexican realness. I decided to go with a sweet italian sausage this time along with a mild gouda and red peppers. I figured the sweet and mild stuffing would compliment the acorn squash nicely. I figured right.
Once the sausage has browned, drain the extra grease and add the onion, red peppers, celery, and seasoning. The spices at my disposal were sea salt, cumin, and my all time favorite red pepper flakes for a little heat. Once the quinoa is done, add the quinoa to the sausage and pepper mixture, plus 1/2 cup of shredded gouda. Last I'll add the kale. I like kale leaves to stay robust, so I don't really cook them on the stove top. The kale will wilt with the hot quinoa and sausage mixture, and it'll fully bake in the oven.
Take the acorn squash out of the oven and stuff the quinoa sausage mixture into the pit. Then stick that sucker back into the oven for 10 minutes or until the top of the stuffing starts to brown a bit.
Damn. Ain't that thing just so damn seasonal? Enjoy!