Well, it is now officially autumn. Weather-wise, it came early this year up here in northeast Ohio; the trees are already turning, which usually doesn’t really begin to ramp up until the second week of October in this neck of the woods, and my winter wardrobe’s migration towards the front of our closet is also a bit premature. It’s the last week of the season for our CSA and Beloved has begun clearing out our own gardens, as well.
I don’t think we’ll be buying as many apples this year, as we still have plenty of applesauce from last year, but I’m really looking forward to some apple-based dishes, both sweet and savory, and I’m going to try and make some apple cider jelly.
We’ve decided not to do a CSA share next year, but rather get our summer produce from our own gardens and supplement with purchases from local farmer’s markets. There’s only so much we can consume, even with Darling Daughter back home and The Young One here for the summer and holidays, and some of what we grew ourselves simply went unharvested – mostly leafy greens – because we just couldn’t eat it all.
Winter squashes are in full swing about now, and my obsession with cooking and stuffing them continues unabated. Last week, it was Mexican-inspired stuffed spaghetti squash; this week, it’s a Moroccan-flavored lamb and quinoa mixture heaped inside roasted acorn squash.
Acorn squash isn’t my favorite – that spot is reserved for butternuts and kabochas – but we had two we’d acquired through our CSA share and I decided, since they were sitting there on the counter, just staring me in the face, that I probably should do something with them. I wasn’t in the mood for soup (that happened last night with our lone sweet dumpling squash), but another stuffed squash sure sounded like a good idea. It wasn’t long before I was pulling the last pound of ground lamb from our freezer and the bag of sprouted quinoa from the pantry.
It turns out it was an excellent idea – this was just delicious (frankly, I’d have been happy eating just the filling; it was that good). Darling Daughter and I shared one half between the two of us, while Beloved inhaled an entire half all on his own. This is also one of those dishes that is even better the next day, and it reheats beautifully.
Click the image to enlarge
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup raisins, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Cut the squashes in half, lengthwise, and scoop the seeds from the center. Rub each half with the olive oil; place cut side down on a shallow, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.
- While the squash is in the oven, cook the lamb in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks with a large wooden spoon. Once it has barely begun to brown, add the onion and continue cooking until most of the fat has rendered from the meat and the onion has softened. Stir in the garlic, curry powder, cumin, cinnamon, coriander and salt and pepper and cook until the meat is cooked through and the mixture is fragrant.
- Remove the meat mixture from the heat and stir in the pistachios, raisins and quinoa, mixing well. Set aside.
- When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool slightly. Turn it over so that the cut sides are facing up and spoon the lamb/quinoa mixture into the centers, packing it in as necessary, until all of the filling has all been used.
- Reduce the heat to 350 F and return the stuffed squash halves to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Carefully cut each in half lengthwise before serving.
- Nutrition (per serving): 396 calories, 21.5g total fat, 41.4mg cholesterol, 512.4mg sodium, 833.2mg potassium, 39.6g carbohydrates, 5.1g fiber, 11.7g sugar, 14.8g protein