Sunday, September 23, 2007

Winter Squash On The Last Day Of Summer

Last weekend I realized that the farmer's market was through October. For some reason I had thought that it was only June-August, despite that making very little sense. But I saw an ad for it on the local public access channel, jumped online, and it was true.

So I had to wander over, thrilled. And there was squash. Hard winter squash. In the summer. I'm okay with that, because last year, I realized I actually liked squash, but then it was bye-bye to the season before I had a chance to have fun!

I played it safe yesterday, despite having my eye on quite a few stuffed gems, I chose one out of a magazine with a picture that caught my eye when it came in the mail. I wasn't sure about it (turkey sausage, swiss cheese, and hot sauce?), but two of those reservations were personal taste, and one is just a bit ridiculous. Usually I replace swiss cheese, but I didn't, and my Dad was glad I didn't. I just put less on mine (which is the amount in the photograph.)

I can't wait until next weekend, since now I realize squash isn't too hard for me to handle, to buy more. I'll make baked macaroni one night, maybe another stuffing, or a "risotto" based on one I saw on a menu last week that called out to me.

Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash

adapted from Eating Well October 2007
serves 6

3 acorn squash (3/4-1 lb each)
1 teaspoon oil
5 ounces bulk turkey sausage, thawed if frozen
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Cut each squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and do whatever you want to with the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

Swirl oil in skillet and heat over medium heat. Add turkey sausage and cook, stirring and breaking up, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir n garlic, chili powder, and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir n tomatoes, beans, and salt, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 t0 12 minutes.

When squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325ºF. Fill the squash halves with the turkey mixture. Top with Swiss cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.

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