Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Moroccan Inspired Stuffed Acorn Squash

It has been cold in Austin lately, colder than it has been in years so I've been told. I bought an acorn squash about a week ago thinking I would make some kind of soup out of it. But then I stumbled upon this recipe. I decided to make a few tweaks and cut the recipe down to serve only two. I used ingredients I had on hand and the squash was very tasty. It made a lovely presentation, not to mention the fact it made my kitchen smell wonderfully exotic.

Moroccan Inspired Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, cut in half, long ways
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
2 mild Italian sausage links
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 large garlic clove, minced
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/4 cup orzo
1/4 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons of pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and place squash cut side down. Bake for 35 minutes. While the squash is baking, prepare the filling.

In a deep skillet over a medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Remove the casing from the sausages and break the links into small chunks. Add Italian sausage, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt to the skillet.

Cook until brown (about 5 to 7 minutes), drain meat, leaving juices still in the pan, and place sausage in a bowl. Add onions to the skillet and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the quinoa and orzo, and stir until combined. Pour in the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-18 minutes. Fluff quinoa and orzo, add the cooked meat, cranberries, pecans, cilantro, add salt and pepper to taste. After the acorn squash has baked, remove it from the oven and scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon. Leave about 1/4 inch thick shell. Chop the scooped out flesh into chunks and add it to the filling mixture. Spoon the filling mixture into the squash bowls. There will be a generous amount of filling for each squash half. Bake for 15 minutes. Serves two.

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