The Autumn Squash Obsession

I know it has been a while since I’ve written, so before I get into this recipe, a little catching up is in order…

Since my last post, my garden flourished (yaaaaay) and I have been eating roasted tomatoes for months, which I think everyone will agree is never a bad thing.
roasted tomatoes
I tried some heirloom Cherokee purple tomatoes this year (only because they were free from my main squeeze) and I really loved how they turned out. He gave me some pineapple tomatoes as well, but I didn’t get a single one all season. More on tomatoes in another post, because I had much success with them this year, I will write a post about what I did, because I think I figured out the secret. 😀
cherokee purple

In other news, I have uprooted my life and have moved into a duplex in central Texas. I have my own kitchen, my own (eventual) garden space, and a teensy bit of extra free time between both jobs. Our place did come with a few rose bushes which the boyfriend pruned and they just took off! I’ve never cared for roses before, so if anyone knows any tips, I am all ears. But this is what they look like after a few days of rain.
roses

Also, super random side note, there is a place down here that serves CHICKEN FRIED BACON. Yes, you read that correctly. No, it’s not greasy. It’s actually steamed inside the batter…crazy? No, It’s beautiful. And served with cream gravy. Need I say more?
chicken fried bacon

So I believe I will be posting more often, but hey, we’ll see when we see right?

ANYWAY, so this squash thing was pretty unexpected. It came out of nowhere while I was at my new job. (I’ll give you a hint; they’re famous for a bowl made of sourdough :]) So I was dipping this new, baby food-looking soup, and the smell hit me…it was freaking glorious. Like toasting walnuts and sweet potato pie, and just…fall. Now here in Texas, we don’t get much of the in-between seasons, so any glimpse of spring and autumn are always welcome. And this soup just smelled so inviting. Now, being that I am not much of a soup person (I like something I can sink my teeth into) I wasn’t too keen on trying the soup itself, but we have this butternut squash ravioli in asiago alfredo…which is right up my alley. So on my break I tried it, and this obsession began. As soon as I got home I was looking up recipes for butternut squash on Pinterest, and I found this one: Stuffed Butternut Squash but it was vegetarian, and I have a 25 year old man to feed. So I added and subtracted and tweaked and revamped like I always do.

So there’s a really cute farmer’s market down here and the boyfriend and I love to go there because it’s cheap and there’s a very nice old man in there who is a wonderful conversationalist. So we made a trip over there, and I have squash on the brain. I track down a good sized gourd and brought it home with us. Then we went to H-E-B (the most wonderful place on earth) and got some specialty ingredients. Some of these things can be substituted, like the Three Continent Blend I used, which contains red and gold quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, and wild rice. While this blend is really freaking good, you could do any grain mix, but I think anything with quinoa and wild rice would be perfect.

Something else I did was I used my homemade chicken stock instead of pretty much all of the water in the original recipe. I just have an abundance of it because I make it homemade, and if you don’t, you could use boullion, or even water or broth or stretch some stock. I just love the meaty flavor the stock adds to everything, ESPECIALLY the roasting squash.

As I said before, I’m feeding a man, so meat is pretty much a necessity for most meals. This being the case, I added turkey meat to the stuffing so as not to destroy the healthy-factor that makes this meal so satisfying, but also beef it up a bit.

A WORD OF CAUTION: In this recipe, when it says to flip over the squash after it’s been roasted, GRAB A BUDDY. I can’t stress this enough, that the flipping is a TWO PERSON JOB. Don’t make the mistakes I did. That’s why I spend hours typing. To help you crazy people. I have squash burns that could have been avoided if my pride would have gotten out of the way and grabbed a spatula.

I paired this stuffed squash with yet another H-E-B gem, pesto artisan bread. Om nom. nom nom. All I did was slice it, drizzle it with some olive oil and sprinkle it with some of the rosemary asiago cheese I topped the squash with, then tossed that guy in the oven till he was happy happy [copyright]. This needs something crunchy, because, delicious as the squash is, it is a bit on the mushy side. If you added some pecans to the filling or something that might be alleviated a little, but I was feeling some cheese toast.

Now that I have type-yelled and disclaimed and explainified everything, here is what I came up with. DISCLAIMER: If you have never used any of my recipes before, just know this is 80% METHOD. These measurements are estimated, and if it doesn’t look right to you, it might be off, so change it to fit your taste.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • 1 ½ + 2 ½ cups chicken stock divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 cup chopped wild mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup of Three Continent Grain Blend
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (or I used rosemary asiago, any hard, salty cheese will work)
  • 1 lb lean turkey meat (I used 85/15)
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • Herbs de Provence (a mixture of lavender and bay and a bunch of other deliciousness)

Method:

First, get you squash roasting. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Peel any stickers off your squash, and give that guy a rinse. Then slice in half and scoop out the seeds. Do with them what you wish. There are a TON of uses for them. Next, place each half of your squash cut side down in a 9×13 casserole dish and fill the dish with about 1/2 inch of stock. Roast Squash in the oven for 45 – 60 minutes. (Less time is better, because you will be trying to flip them…squishy squash doesn’t like to flip.) Once squash is roasted, remove from the oven and set aside.

While your squash is roasting, prepare 1 cup of your grain mixture according to the package directions, just replace the water called for to chicken stock.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic, and shallots. Saute for a few minutes, and add the turkey meat and the Herbs de Provence. Brown the meat. Remove from pan and set aside. Add a little more olive oil and saute the mushrooms. 

Time to flip. Grab you aforementioned buddy and grab a few spatulas. Flip over your squash halves and scoop out the meat.leaving about a half inch rind so it doesn’t fall apart. Drain the stock from the pan and place the squash halves back in the casserole dish cut side up. 

Now, create you filling. Add the goat cheese to the squash meat and mash. If you like a little more tang, add more goat cheese. Then add turkey mixture, mushrooms, and cooked grain blend to the squash mash. Stir until well combined and taste for seasonings. Now is the time to make any final amendments. 

Distribute filling evenly between the two squash halves, and top with the grated asiago (or parmesan) cheese. Return to the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes. (This is a good time to put your cheese bread in the oven.)

Remove deliciousness from the oven, portion appropriately, and serve!

squashpic2

I hope y’all enjoyed this one. This was my first major meal in my new place, so I’m pretty excited about it. If yall try it and have any suggestions or questions, please post them in the comment section.

– Rosie

 

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