Thursday, October 15, 2009

Moroccan Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

There's just something about autumn/fall that screams "EAT SQUASH!" I mean, it's readily available, it's cheap, so why not? Acorn squash is good because it doubles as a serving bowl and it goes great with brown sugar and butter. That was Andy's one requirement in me making this dish. The squash HAD to have butter and brown sugar in the cavity while it was baking. And don't tell him this, but it was pretty good idea. Adapted this recipe from The Bitten Word.


2 acorn squashes, halved and seeded
3/4 lb. ground beef
ground cinnamon and nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups water
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pats
4 tablespoons brown sugar, or more if you'd like
1 cup beef stock/broth
parmesan cheese to top

You definitely want to start cooking the rice first, unless you have a quick rice like basmati or something. But for me, the brown rice takes about 45 minutes to develop a good texture. Bring the beef stock and rice to a boil, then lower heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, covered.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out squash halves on baking sheet. You may have to cut the bottoms just a tad so they lay flat. Add 1 pat of butter and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to each half. You can add more brown sugar if you'd like, but I found this was good. Bake squash for about 40 minutes, or until tender.

While squash and rice are cooking, you can make your filling. In a large skillet, heat oil under medium high heat. Add ground beef, pinch or two of cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt to taste. Cook until beef is brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a separate bowl and tent with foil to keep warm. Try to reserve as much oil and juice in the pan as possible.

Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Add salt to taste and fold in rice. Mix well. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes, still leaving it covered. Fluff the rice with a fork and add back in the beef, and mix in the raisins, parsley, and pine nuts.

Scrape out the squash into the beef mixture, leaving enough squash to make a sturdy bowl. Fill each squash shell to your liking, top with parmesan cheese, and bake for about 12-15 minutes longer. Serve hot and enjoy!

This was a great recipe. Full of flavor in every bite, took a little bit of time, but definitely worth it. Great for leftovers for lunch the next day! Enjoy!

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