10 October 2011

squash the casbah

I love squashes.  Really really love squashes.  And not just Summer squashes, but their warmer sweeter Autumn relatives too.  I'm pretty sure my love of the many colorful, tasty varieties led to a few squash overdoses last fall.  But these year I'm determined to mix it up a little and not just load them up with butter and brown sugar (although that's extremely delicious and I'll be eating a lot of that as well.)  In order to help my brain get crackin on some new squash recipes, I turned to the one lady I knew would be able to help out - Martha Stewart.  My gal Martha has an entire slideshow on her website all about squashes and pumpkins!

While perusing her simple and inventive recipes, I came across these Moroccan style stuffed acorn squashes and decided that they were right up my alley.  But since I haven't been cooking lately I wanted to make it easy on myself by cheating and using the jar of already prepared Moroccan spices that I have at home.  Unfortunately, when my mom and I swung by my apartment to pick up some things before heading off to New Jersey we grabbed everything but the spices.  And since the internet back in KP is extraordinarily slow, I had to utilize my creative genius to create my own version of the recipe.  No worries though because it was a complete success!  I originally planned on serving it up as a vegetarian meal but since my dad would be dining with us, I had to make it a little meaty if I wanted to convince him to taste it (he's a little hesitant about foreign spices.)  Once he saw it though, he decided to try it and guess what... he totally loved it!  I'm determined to take him out to try Indian food next.  Oh yeah, Aunt Donna really enjoyed it, too!  It's healthy, hearty and wonderfully seasonal; a perfect main course or feast-worthy side dish.

moroccan stuffed squash
2 acorn squash
1 box couscous
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch of saffron threads
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp coriander
fresh ground salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
fresh ground nutmeg to taste
1 lb ground lamb
1. Preheat oven to 350.  Halve squash and scoop out all the innards.  Bake squash for about 45 minutes or until nearly tender, flipping them halfway through.  When ready, cut out the majority of the squash out of the shell but leaving some for looks and setting the shells aside.  From what's been removed, cut into small chunks and toss into a bowl.
2. Prepare couscous according to box directions with saffron and olive oil.  Toss spices together in a small dish.  In a hot skillet, brown the lamb with half of the spice mixture.  When lamb and couscous are ready, toss with squash pieces and remaining spices and some of the lamb drippings.
3. Spoon the mix into the squash halves and bake for about 15 minutes on a baking sheet with a shallow amount of water.  Serve and enjoy.

You'll probably have a good amount of stuffing leftover, we did at least.  So what to do with all that leftover goodness?  We put it into portabella mushroom caps and enjoyed another stuffed veggie but it would also be tasty on a bed of fresh spinach or just on it's own.  Have any other ideas?  I'd love to hear what everyone else would do with seasonally spiced stuffing so share your ideas gang!

1 comment:

  1. Jillian,
    These look awesome! I'm a little lamb-hesitant, but if you say it's good, I'm in.

    Also, I have a deliriouskitchen challenge for you: This Sunday, I brought home twelve assorted apples from Terhune Orchards in Princeton. I'd like to make something sort of healthy but definitely delicious with them. Any thoughts?