I don’t write or develop recipes, but I am a good improviser when it comes to cooking. Joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group really makes you practice those skills, as well. Last night, I was working with acorn squash, bok choy, tomatoes, (all from the CSA) and ground beef. I made up this dish, but the acorn squash could easily be substituted with butternut squash or kabocha (pumpkin), and the bok choy could be substituted for any leafy, hearty green. You could also add in some of your own favorites–onion and carrots come to mind. It’s a very versatile and easy dinner.
Set your oven at 375. Prepare the squash by cutting them in half and scooping out the seeds. I put my four halves into a glass baking dish and drizzled them with olive oil. Salt and pepper them as much as you like (I like mine salty).
Put the squash in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes. This should give you enough time to chop up the vegetables that you are using into smallish pieces. After the timer goes off, set it for another 30 minutes, and start making the filling. Heat a larger skillet and leave it at medium while you brown the ground beef (about 1 lb.). After it is just browned, add the chopped vegetables and season them with salt, pepper, curry powder, and a touch a cinnamon. Once everything has cooked, about 5-10 minutes, add about a half cup of vegetable broth and simmer until the liquid is gone. **
Check to see if your squash is tender and if it is, take it out of the oven to spoon some of your ground beef filling into each one. There will probably be leftover filling. Put the squash back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until the filling gets a little crusty. Take out the squash and let it sit for a couple of minutes before you eat it.
**If you have kids who are picky eaters or can’t eat the stuffed squash in this format, you could scoop out the meat of the squash and serve it separately with the filling. It’s a little bit easier to eat that way.
I am pretty excited to try this again and I’ll probably use kabocha next time, just because Matt and I like the flavor better. But overall, it was a tasty fall experiment. Please let me know if you try it any differently.