Stuffed

Winter squash, with its brilliant orange flesh and sweet, nutty flavor, is hearty and satisfying fare during these cold months.  I love Butternut, Acorn, Hubbard and Delicata.  I buy Kabocha squash once in awhile, too.  This plump, round speckled green beauty cries out to have its belly filled when I remove the top Jack O’ Lantern style, scoop out the seeds, and pop it into the oven to roast.  The flesh of this squash is quite dry and nutty tasting, and makes a perfect “crust” to stuff.  I have been experimenting with different fillings and the family favorite so far is made with steamed long grain brown rice, mixed with a colorful saute of dried fruits, nuts, herbs, and vegetables.

We ate this for dinner last night, with some pan-seared broccoli on the side.  My son had popped in to join us for dinner and could not stop raving about the meal.  And I, despite waking up at the ungodly hour of 4 am this morning, had enough energy left over from this meal to log an eight and a half mile run!  I was home before 7.  Guess what I ate for breakfast?

Stuffed Kabocha Squash

Ingredients:

1 medium Kabocha squash, top cut off (pumpkin-carving style) and reserved, seeds scooped out.

1 cup uncooked rice of your choice (I have been using Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Medley, a blend of long grain brown rice, black barley and daikon radish seeds.  Really yummy.)

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

1/2 medium sweet onion, cut into fine dice

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into fine dice

1 rib celery, cut into fine dice

1 medium firm apple, peeled and chopped into medium dice

1/4 c raisins

1/4 c dried cranberries

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 tsp. dried sage or 1 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, minced

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp.  ground black pepper

1/4 c vegetable broth or unsweetened rice, almond, or soy milk

Maple syrup for drizzling (optional, but really yummy!)

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 ° F.  Place squash in a lightly oiled baking dish.  Fit the cut top back on the squash and roast it on the center rack for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.  Remove squash from oven and cool until you are ready to bake it again with the stuffing.

While the squash is roasting, cook the rice according to the package directions.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the saute:  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic, onion, pepper, celery, apple, raisins and cranberries and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes.  Add the sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook 1-2 minutes longer, stirring well to distribute the spices.  If the pan becomes dry, add a little water to keep things moist.   The dried fruit will plump up a bit.  Stir in the walnuts.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  (I have also added 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut to the stuffing, and sometimes substituted dried tart cherries for the cranberries.  All delicious!)

To assemble:

Add the saute to the rice and mix well.  Remove the top from the squash and spoon the stuffing into the cavity.  Pack the stuffing in, but be gentle so as not to break the squash. (There will probably be some stuffing left over, which you might serve on the side or reserve for another use.)   Pour the broth or milk over the top of the stuffing.  Replace the squash cap and bake at 350 °F for about 40-45 minutes, or until stuffing is hot.

To serve:

With a sharp knife, cut the squash into slices, as if cutting a pie.  Take each slice and place in a shallow bowl or small dinner plate.  Drizzle lightly with maple syrup.  Serve with sauteed greens, steamed or pan-seared broccoli, or a side salad.

Serves 4-6, depending on appetites…

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4 Comments on “Stuffed”

  1. lise Says:

    Beautiful picture….but you can’t fool me….thats not pan-seared brocolli on the side 🙂

    I don’t need the recipe….I’ll wait for my dinner invitation and you can make that for dinner.


  2. Nope, you are right, it’s not. That was breakfast with wild rocket salad on the side!


  3. I sent you an email telling you I was going to make this. Wanted to let you know I made it and totally loved it!! Definitely a keeper. Loved it drizzled w/ the maple syrup. Thanks again elizabeth!


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