Monday, January 04, 2010

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes

After picking up a couple random acorn squashes at the market this past weekend on impulse, I now needed to figure out what to do with them! I knew I had a few recipes lingering somewhere in our to-try piles and after spending a few minutes sifting through them, I came across a recipe for Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes. This one stood out mainly because we already had the remaining ingredients called for on hand.

You'll need to halve the squashes first to scoop out the seeds and roast them, but it can sometimes be fairly difficult to push a knife safely through. To help ease your knife in, you can stick the whole squash into the microwave and heat for just a few minutes (two or three is usually enough) - this softens the outside just enough to aide in the halving process.

While the squashes roast, we used that time to brown a mound of ground sirloin, spiced with a pinch of fragrant cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg. It may seem unusual to some to add spices typically associated with sweets and baked goods to meat, but because there is just a small amount, they work in adding such a unique complexity without making it taste like dessert. After scooping out the browned crumbles, finely chopped onion made its way in to sweat out and soften. A mess of minced garlic was stirred in and as soon as their pungent aroma lifted from the pot, grains of bulgur wheat went in, followed shortly by enough vegetable broth to moisten the grains.

When the fiber-rich bulgur had softened, the browned sirloin was added back in, along with plump golden raisins, fresh parsley and buttery toasted pine nuts. When the squash halves were ready, we let them cool slightly, then scooped out their tender fleshy insides and then folded that into the bulked up beef mixture. Scooped back into the now-empty halves, the squash then went back into the oven to bake for a second time - however, because everything is already cooked, it won't take long to bring the filling back up to temperature and give the tops a bit of color.

I found myself quite attracted to this cozy dish, especially with the golden raisins and pine nuts inside, but Jeff wasn't as thrilled. That's not to say he didn't finish his portion, but I could tell he wasn't a fan as it took him much longer to eat than normal. I do admit to knowing that he wasn't a lover of squash already, but I was secretly hoping between the beef and bulgur it would help bring him around. He says it goes back to the softer texture of the squash and its more earthiness that just didn't jive with him, otherwise the rest of the flavors were good.


  1. This looks like a recipe I would enjoy. Interesting yet complimentary flavors. Thanks for posting!

    Kindly, ldh

  2. I've made this twice and upped the cinnamon & spices as recommended. Plus I used ground turkey both times. First time cause that's what I had, second time cause it was so good. We loved it!

  3. LDH - Let us know if you give it a try!

    Sophie - Aww! Sorry to hear that!

    Anon - good to hear!

  4. Joe - I've got a Kabocha squash wanting to be cooked - think this would be a good substitute for the acorn squash?

  5. Lee Ann - I've never had Kabocha squash, so I couldn't be certain. From what I gather though, it might be fine, as long as it isn't too large.