Monday, November 23, 2009


Fall brings with it squash. I love squash -- it's sweet and savory at the same time. And so much fun to cook! You can roast it, blanch it, fry it, etc.

It's also forgiving. You can add any spices you want to it and it generally turns out pretty good.

When roasting squash, you can roast it on its own, or take a little more time and stuff it. I prefer stuffing it. Some of my favorite stuffings include chicken/rice, wild rice/brown rice/wheat berries, and black beans/rice. Tonight's dinner was acorn squash stuffed with black beans and rice.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Black Beans and Rice
1 large acorn squash
2 15oz. cans black beans
1 cup brown basmati rice
1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or 1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds)
1 teaspoon tumeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water

Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).

Put rice, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn to a simmer and simmer until done.

Cut squash into halves. Scoop out seeds and discard. Poke surface several times with a fork.

Melt half the butter. Baste the cut surface and cavity of the acorn squash. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the salt on each half. Place halves cut side up in roasting pan and place in oven.

Heat skillet and toast whole spices (do not use butter). Once the spices become aromatic, remove from skillet and grind in mortar and pestle. Melt butter in same skillet and saute onions and garlic until onion has turned translucent.

Once the rice is done, add beans (including fluids in can), onions, garlic, and spices. Continue heating until beans are heated through. The rice and beans should still be a bit soupy so the rice doesn't overly dry out in the oven.

Pull squash out of oven and fill cavities with beans and rice mixture. Return to oven (cut side up) and continue roasting until squash is done (soft through).

The savoriness of the beans highlights the sweetness of the squash. This is a satisfying meal without meat, which is nice with Thanksgiving coming up this week.

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