Butternut squash were not only plentiful this week but varied in size. Some, like the ones we grew in our garden this past summer were adorably small, making them the perfect size for individual servings when split in half. Filling the ladle end with savory ingredients is not only delicious but a feast for the eyes when served on a platter.
Stuffed Winter Squash
3 small butternut squash 0r more, halved with seeds removed
1 cup uncooked quinoa
3 cups broth
1-2 Tablespoons butter or oil of choice
1 white onion or shallot, peeled and chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of black pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3-5 celery stalks, trimmed and finely diced
8 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and finely diced
1/2 medium fennel bulb (tender parts only) finely diced (optional)
1/2 – 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
1 large sweet red apple, cored and diced (optional)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, diced (optional but yummy)
Cook quinoa in 3 cups of broth in a covered pot until tender.
While the quinoa cooks, place squash cut side down in a baking dish and add 2 cups water. Bake at 350 until tender when tested with a fork adding more water if necessary to keep the pan from drying out.
When tender, turn each half so the cut sides are now facing up.
Melt butter in a large skillet or pan big enough to hold all the quinoa. When melted, add the onion salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Add celery and mushrooms and cook for 10-15 minutes more until all of the vegetables soften and some of the juice evaporates, stirring frequently.
Stir in the herbs and apple, if using and cook 3-5 minutes.
Add the cooked quinoa, stir well and cook for another 3 minutes. Add more herbs, salt or butter to taste.
Spoon a heaping serving of the stuffing into the prepared squash halves and bake in the 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or so. Watch for slight browning of the stuffing.
While they bake, lightly toast the nuts to serve on top.
You should have lots of stuffing left over which stores well in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheated, this recipe makes a nice accompaniment for most any meal. Add ground meat if you like for a complete one dish meal.
Happy New Year everyone!
’til next time,
PS Last years stats are actually a repeat from another report. The last week of 2019 was Dec. 26th and the Pantry was closed.