Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Story

Fall is the perfect time of year to incorporate squash into your meals. This can be served all on its own or with a side. Acorn squash looks very pretty on a plate and people love scooping into the squash. They are full of flavor and very hearty with the meat filling. This is a comforting meal when there is a cool brisk wind outside especially around the Halloween season. This recipe can also be used for stuffing peppers but I like to use acorn squash during this time of year!  

Secret

The breadcrumb topping adds a lot of flavor and creates a crispy topping to the soft squash.

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • 4 Acorn squash halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion cubed
  • 1 ½ lbs organic ground beef
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 3 celery sticks cubed
  • ¼ cup of chopped parsley
  • 5 vine ripe tomatoes, skinned and cubed
  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • Salt/pepper to taste

 

Sauce

  • ¼ cup of oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 15oz cans of organic tomato sauce
  • 4 15oz cans water
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence seasoning

 

Breadcrumbs

  • ½ of a French baguette
  • ½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 4 green onions chopped
  • ¼ cup of olive oil

 

Recipe

In a 9-quart Le Creuset sauce pan over medium heat add the oil and sweat the onions, with a dash of salt. Once onions start turning slightly brown add the ground beef stirring frequently breaking up any large chunks of meat. While the meat is browning, in a separate saucepan boil 4 quarts of water and add the 5 tomatoes to the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain the water and peel off the tomato skin with a paring knife. Using the Vidalia Chop Wizard, with the ¼ inch cube setting, dice up the celery, carrots and tomatoes. Add the ingredients to the pot. Mix well and let simmer a few minutes. Rinse 1 cup of rice under water and add to the pot. Stir the rice in well and let simmer for about 10 minutes. In the meantime split the acorn squash lengthwise or crosswise. I chose to go crosswise for a circular shape. Scrape out all the seeds so you have a nice smooth hollow center for the filling.

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Place the acorn squash in a deep baking dish. Fill each squash with the meat, rice and vegetable mixture as shown in the picture. Any extra meat mixture can be poured in the bottom of the pot as well.

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You may need to use 2 baking dishes to fit all the acorn squash. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In the same sauce pan that you prepared the meat, add ¼ cup of oil and 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix until a paste is formed and then add the tomato sauce one can at a time. Mix everything very well to form a smooth sauce without any lumps. Fill up the tomato sauce cans with water and pour it into the sauce pot. A total of 3 water cans should be added. Again mix very well and add the Herbes de Provence seasoning. Bring to a slight boil and using a ladle, pour a couple scoops of the tomato sauce over each stuffed acorn squash.

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Pour any remaining tomato sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and cover with the lid. Place the baking dish on the center rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour.

 Slice half of a French baguette into small slices. Using a small food processor or chopper, grind the bread to form breadcrumbs. Transfer the breadcrumbs into a mixing bowl and add the parmesan cheese, green onions and olive oil. Mix well and set aside.

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 After an hour of baking, remove the baking dish from the oven and scoop the breadcrumb mixture over the stuffed acorn squash.

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Return to oven and continue baking for another 15 minutes so that the breadcrumbs become slightly golden and crispy.

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Serve the stuffed acorn squash with a side salad or by itself. This is a great holiday meal for Halloween and the Thanksgiving season!

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 *** makes 8 servings  ***

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