Monday, October 10, 2011

Stuffed Winter Squash



I love squash! It's cheap, easy to grow, easy to cook, and very tasty. The challenge is to figure out ways to prepare it creatively - you don't want to just eat it as a mashed potato substitute. I love to stuff vegetables, and squash is practically asking to be stuffed (it's hollow when you take out the seeds), so this recipe seems like a natural way to innovate.

Ingredients
  • 3 delicata squash, scrubbed clean and split lengthwise with the seed cavity scraped out.
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into thin pats
  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) pork sausage (traditional sausage, not italian or hot), or plain ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 6 cups kale (one bunch), washed, stemmed and chopped (do not dry off)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the insides of the squash with salt and place 1 tablespoon of butter in each, distributing the pats along the bottom.
Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer brown. Remove the sausage from the pan and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion, celery, and carrot until crisp-tender. Add the kale, lemon juice, and vinegar and saute until the kale is tender. Add the cooked sausage, rice, oregano, and salt/pepper to taste. Loosely spoon the filling into each squash half (do not pack it in). Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, or until the squash flesh is tender.
Remove the squash from the oven. Top each squash with a layer of pine nuts and return to the oven for 5 minutes more. Let cool slightly (3-5 minutes) and serve with a tossed salad.

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