Stuffed Acorn Squash
Ahh autumn, the most boring season. Fall means summer is over which, let's not kid ourselves, is the best season hands down. Autumn in LA is confused. It's supposed to get cooler but even in November, the days are hotter than August. Regardless, a ton of different winter squash varieties start showing up at the grocery store. Our reward for having to endure autumn is that finally a vegetable is in season and on sale!
I decided to get a golden acorn squash, which is pretty small and solid yellow (hence the word golden). I don't sit around thinking of ways to cook squash, I just enjoy utilizing seasonal ingredients. When I see a hard vegetable like squash, the first thing I want to do is cut it up and roast it, but I decided to switch it up and stuff this one. I actually came up with the stuffing recipe because I wanted to make chili, but I got tired of opening the refrigerator and seeing the squash.
1 acorn squash
1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 can tri-color beans (drained; black, pinto, kidney)
1 small can of diced tomatoes (or crushed)
1/4 green bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Preparing and Stuffing the Squash
1. Cut the top of the acorn squash where the stem is. Then, split it in half lengthwise. Place them on a foil covered baking pan.
Tip: On the rounded bottom of each half of the squash, shave off a piece of the skin so the squash can sit with out rolling.
2. Clean out the seeds and pulp from the squash, then season the squash with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
3. Chop the onion, bell pepper and garlic for the filling.
4. Put the ground turkey in a bowl and add the seasonings (salt and pepper included, 1 tsp of each). After, add the chopped vegetables, beans and tomatoes.
5. Stir until completely incorporated.
6. Fill the halves of the acorn squash evenly. The cavity is small so don't be afraid to pile the filling on top.
7. Place squash in the oven for about an hour or until it is fork tender.
***Most ground meats won't come as a half pound and beans don't come in half cans. If you double the entire recipe, just stuff another squash OR do as I did and make some actual turkey chili--just add a small can of tomato sauce and vegetable stock or water.
This squash was literally $1/lb when I bought it and it tasted really good with a southwestern flare. Now that I am forced to embrace cooking this season because of an affordable vegetable, maybe I'll try out other squash varieties while I anticipate the winter.