Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash

Easy, warm, and comforting, these Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash are the perfect weeknight meal.
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Winter squash makes an ideal vessel for stuffing, and the acorn variety is no exception. 
When it's roasted, the interior flesh becomes caramelized and slightly sweet. This flavor profile pairs so great with many different fillings, but especially the flavors of Morocco.


The very distinct flavor of lamb was what I was looking for as a base to my stuffing. If lamb isn't your thing, you could definitely substitute ground beef or sausage. 
Don't be scared of Moroccan spices either, I'd be willing to bet you have every single one of them on hand in your spice drawer. I was surprised to see that I did!
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After roasting the squash, simply remove most of the flesh and combine it with the ground lamb mixture. Stuff all of that goodness back inside of the squash and back in the oven they go.
Before serving, top them with crumbled goat cheese and toasted pine nuts and you have yourself a flavor packed meal that is deceptively easy.

Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4

2 medium acorn squash
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground lamb (can sub ground beef or ground sausage)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Goat cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Cut each acorn squash in half through the stem. Scrape out and discard the seeds and inner membrane. 
Place the squash halves cut side down on the prepared pan. Roast in preheated oven until a sharp knife is easily inserted through the outside of the squash, 40-60 minutes.
Remove squash and allow to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Saute onion for 5-8 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add garlic and continue to cook for one minute. Add lamb, and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Drain off fat. Add salt, pepper, and spices. Stir well.
Stir in cranberries.
Once the squash has cooled, scoop out the cooked flesh, leaving 1/4 inch in tact. Stir flesh into lamb mixture. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Divide batter evenly between squash shells. 
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with goat cheese and pine nuts.
Enjoy!

**Recipe Notes:
There are many things you can substitute in or out of this recipe. If you don't have cranberries, you can use golden raisins or even pomegranate seeds.
I was tempted to add 1 cup of cooked quinoa, but decided not to at the last minute. I think it'd be delicious though!
Use any nut or any crumbly cheese that you have on hand for the topping.

If you like stuffing things, try making this or baking these!


5 comments:

  1. Excellent! Had this last night - flavors were subtle with nothing standing out too 'loud' Leftover meat mixture went on a flour tortilla today for faux Armenian pizza. That was good also. Future prep will always be made with extra meat mixture for a delicious dinner and quick lunch. Thank you!

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    1. Leftovers are always the best...and what a great way to use them ;) Thank you so much for your comment.

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  2. was looking for a way to use up the acorn squash I had out for autumnal decor and a bag of ground lamb in the freezer. this was perfect! beautiful presentation, mild flavors. comfort food still pretty enough to serve plated at a dinner party. (and I second the note about extra meat for easy lunches :)) thank you!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe...and leftovers are always welcomed in my house ;) Thanks so much for your comment!

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  3. I'm on a paleo diet and this recipe was perfect and delicious. I just left off the cheese and subbed out a few other things due to not having them in my cupboard (I used dried cherries and roasted slivered almonds). I also doubled all of the spices except the cinnamon, because I like very strong flavors. It was perfect! Me and my roommate gobbled it up in no time. The filling is also fantastic stuffed into a few baked bell peppers. I might try adding a splash of red wine to the meat next time. Very forgiving recipe with lots of room for variation. Thanks!!!

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