Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stuffed Squash

About a dozen years ago, I went to Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's place, to which my aunt brought some delicious stuffed butternut squash. I asked her for the recipe, and she told me in a couple of sentences. I've since been asked for the recipe myself, and have decided to make it available online, complete with pictures.

This squash is gluten-free, vegan, and pretty darn tasty.

Please forgive the sloppy nature of this recipe. I have a theory that there are two types of cooks in this world: bakers and stovetop cookers. Bakers measure everything precisely, set the oven to an exact number, and set a timer for a specific period of time. Stovetop cookers throw in a pinch of this, a dash of that, and a dollop of the other thing, and are inclined to be comforted by instructions that say things like "cook until brown" and "season to taste." Stovetop cookers cook from the gut rather than from the head, and it is very difficult for us to precisely pin down anything we do, even when we do wind up opening the oven and sticking something in to bake.

2 butternut squash
1 onion
~6 good sized potatoes
1 bag of wanuts
1 bag of dried cranberries
~12 mushrooms
lemon juice
olive oil

1. Hollow out the squash by scraping it out with a spoon. You'll want to leave about an inch of meat on the skin. You can make this a little easier by nuking the squash a bit, but it isn't necessary, and I think you get a better flavor by scraping it raw.

2. Chop up the onions, potatoes, and mushrooms into little squares.

3. Chop the walnuts and cranberries up good, but not too fine.

4. Start pan frying the onions until they start sizzling and you can see the skin on them starting to bubble up a little. You don't want them to quite start browning yet, but you do want them to be starting to release some of their juices into the olive oil.

5. Throw in the potatoes, and start cooking them until they begin getting soft. This is going to take a little while.

6. Throw in the mushrooms, and cook them in until everything is starting to brown up a little bit.

7. Throw in the walnuts and cranberries, squirt it all liberally with lemon juice, and keep stirring and frying it all up until the lemon juice is all cooked in to the mix and things are starting to brown and stick to the pan a little.

8. Scoop out what you've been frying up, and load it into the squash you've hollowed out. Put the stuffed squash on a cookie sheet.

9. Preheat the oven to around 350-400 degrees, and shake cinnamon powder all over the squash.

10. When the oven is hot enough, slide the cookie sheet in, and bake the squash until you hear the oil starting to pop on the sheet. This usually takes somewhere between an hour and 90 minutes.

You can eat the whole squash, skin and all, although you can skip the skin if you don't like it - think of it like the skin on a cucumber: optional, but edible.


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