Monday, January 19, 2015

Stuffed Carnival Squash

By: Claire Tenscher

I've been a big fan of stuffed squash since I was a kid. The recipes in Molly Katzen's Moosewood cookbook - cottage cheese and apple stuffed squash and a thanksgiving-style-stuffing filled squash- were a staple of our family meal plans. This recipe features locally grown Carnival Squash. If you'd like to substitute acorn squash (perhaps you grew some this summer?) feel free. The Carnival Squash has a more buttery flesh and is slightly sweeter. 

I had an extra carnival squash that I thought I would peel and cube for later eating. I quickly realized why Butternut squash is the only one you ever see frozen - and you never see any recipes calling for cubed acorn squash. The ridges make acorn and carnival very difficult to peel! I baked the extra instead and scooped the cooked flesh out to eat with my breakfast cereal.

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3-4 Carnival Squash
Olive Oil
3/4lb Fake Meat crumbles or ground pork (I used a full package of the Gimme Lean Sausage, but my inspiration used ground pork!)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
.5 cup chopped celery
.5 cup chopped carrot
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1.5 cup cooked rice (leftover from a stir-fry the night before)
1 10oz package frozen spinach (thawed, drained, then chopped)
.5 cup walnuts (chopped then toasted)
2 tsp dried oregano
Seasoning salt and vegetable broth- if desired

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Set the squash on their sides then cut 1/4 of the squash off lengthwise. This will form your squash's hat. Scoop out the seeds and stringy things. Drizzle some olive oil in the body of the squash, use your fingers to coat the inside flesh with oil. Set them on a baking sheet.
3) Saute your meat or meat substitute until it is golden brown (or in the case of pork, until it is no longer pink). If using Gimme Lean, use some olive oil in the pan to prevent sticking. Remove from the pan.

4) Heat 1 tbl of olive oil to medium heat in the same pan then toss in the onion, celery and carrot. Cook them for around 8 minutes, until they begin to soften.
5) If you have vegetable broth on hand, or a boullion cube, now is the chance to use it. Toss half a cup in the vegetable pan, with the lemon juice, to deglaze.
6) Return the meat/fake meat to the pan with the rice, spinach, walnuts, oregano and seasoning salt to taste. Heat until the rice is warmed through, usually 5 minutes or so. Take the pan off the hot burner.
7) Fill the hollowed squash with your stuffing, place the lid over the mixture and bake for a little over an hour. You'll want to remove them from the oven when the squash is tender and ready to eat.
8) Enjoy!