moroccan-style stuffed acorn squash 040

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes (recipe by Martha Stewart Living, October 2009)

Squash is now in season, and with the cooler weather comes both feelings of relief and melancholy for me.  I was sorely disappointed to lose more than half of my prized bumper crop of acorn and butternut squash to deer in my yard. Fortunately, there was plenty more available at the Dubuque (Iowa) farmers market. I went there for the first time last weekend with my friend Charissa and I was surprised by the thriving hippie scene. It was fun and a bit of a culture shock after living in Chicago for so many years.

It’s a small coincidence that the last two posts in a row start with the word “Moroccan.” The Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes couldn’t be more different than the Moroccan Couscous with butternut squash. The stuffed acorn squash is a very special dish that is not only visually appealing but a symphony of flavors. It would be perfect as a prelude to a Thanksgiving dinner or for a special occasion. I love it!

I think the dish could be improved by adding a little melted butter and brown sugar to the bottoms of the shells and a little more than a “pinch” of nutmeg and cinnamon to the filling.

What are your favorite squash recipes?

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squashes (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound ground chuck (95 percent lean)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Ingredient note: Bulgur wheat can be found at Middle Eastern supermarkets and health food stores such as Whole Foods. If you have a choice, pick a variety that has a coarse texture.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squashes, cut sides down, in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, a pinch each cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer beef to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon, keeping as much cooking liquid in the pot as possible.

Add onion, and cook until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining teaspoon salt and the bulgur, and stir to combine. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, and add reserved beef, the raisins, parsley, and pine nuts.

Scrape out baked squashes, forming -inch-thick bowls, and fold flesh into bulgur mixture. Divide among squash halves, and return to oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, 12 to 14 minutes.

What’s oishii? “Oishii” (pronounced “oy she”) is the Japanese word for delicious. I love sharing great recipes I discover from popular restaurants, cookbooks, food magazines (Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, etc.), tv shows, friends, family, and other blogs. I also develop my own. Please contact me if there is a recipe you would like the test kitchen to review: michaelwbeyer@hotmail.com

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