Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the crisp air, the morning frost, the colors of the leaves, and of course - the food! Fall is the time for pumpkins, apple cider, donuts, apple pie, hot chocolate, and squash.
I was at the supermarket the other day and I couldn't resist the bin packed with beautiful sweet dumpling squash. There are so many squash varieties available in stores these days. I was at first torn between them and the delicata. Actually, for the recipe I ended up making, either would be good. I just happened to go for the sweet dumpling. This is the sweet dumpling:
Honestly, I don't taste a difference between it and the oblong delicata.
What to do with my sweet dumpling squash? Seriously, the squash is great just totally plain with a hint of butter, perhaps some pumpkin pie spice and a wee bit of maple syrup or honey. Just look at that golden goodness:
I want some just looking at that picture.
When you cut the squash open, just scoop out the seeds. I bet you could toast and salt the seeds and they would be good too!
So, what I ended up with was wonderful - I'm full of pride. I ate it as a meal, but it could easily be a side dish. To give it protein, I added ground beef. The squash was sweet, the currents were tart, the brown rice was nutty and satisfying. The pecans were wonderful and gave it a little crunch. And not only was it delicious, but it was pretty and you could impress your friends and family with this perfect fall dish.
Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash
3 sweet dumpling squash
salt and pepper
¼ cup toasted pecans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup red pepper, diced
1/3 cup green pepper, diced
1 small stalk of celery, diced
1/3 cup sweet, white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup currants
1 cup chopped baby spinach
½ cup brown rice
1 ¼ cup water
Add the rice and water to a small pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes. When it’s done, all the water will be absorbed and the rice fluff with a fork.
While the rice cooks, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Because of the indent in the area of the squash where the vine connects, I decided to cut lengthwise.
Spoon out the seeds in each squash half. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes. When it is done, you will be able to press on the skin, and it will give because the inner flesh will be softened.
While it cooks, heat up the oil in a large pan and saute the vegetables along with the salt and pepper. About half way through the cooking time, add the currants, garlic, and spinach. When the vegetable mixture is cooked till it is soft and slightly browned, transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl. Add the rice and the toasted pecans.
Brown the meat in the pan you used to cook the vegetables. Add the browned meat to the vegetable mixture.
Place the mixture into the squash halves. Over-stuffing is just fine!
Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.