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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Walnut and Apple-Stuffed Squash for One

With its herbed stuffing and warm squash, this apply treat is comfort food of the finest order. Savory apples? Why not!?!  

1 cup firmly packed diced whole-grain bread (you could substitute a grain, like rice or quinoa)
1 TBLSP olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
½ large apple, peeled and diced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 TBLSP chopped fresh parsley
A pinch of dried thyme
2 leaves of fresh sage, thinly sliced
2 TBLSP finely chopped walnuts (or other nut)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 TBLSP apple juice
Half a squash, such as acorn, pumpkin, or butternut, cleaned of seeds, and with a nice open space to pile the stuffing

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Place the squash half cut-side-down on a large baking sheet for 20 minutes. (With the bread, the squash will have roasted for about 30 minutes total before you stuff it.) 
  2. Toast the diced bread on the same large baking sheet in the oven by spreading it in a single layer and stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat, until soft, about 5 minutes, maybe less. Add the diced apple and sauté for 5 more minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the bread cubes, the onion and apple mixture, and the scallion, parsley, thyme, sage, walnuts, and salt and pepper. Once it’s well mixed, drizzle in the apple juice and mix to just moisten the mixture. You want to make sure that the bread is wet, for sure.
  5. Pull the squash out of the oven and turn it over. It should be starting to soften up a bit. Stuff the opening in the squash with the apple mixture and settle it on the baking sheet. If there’s any stuffing left over, put it into a nice ramekin. Of course, if you’re anti-squash, you could bake the whole batch in a small casserole.
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes. When the stuffing is golden brown and still moist, and the squash is squishy when you poke it with a fork, it’s finished. You might need to add water to the bottom of the pan if the stuffing is cooking faster than the squash. The water will keep enough moisture in the oven for everything to turn out just fine. If you need to, cover the stuffing with a bit of foil so it won’t burn while the squash is finishing up cooking.

  • Replace the bread with rice or another grain.
  • Bake the stuffing separately and roll seitan strips around blobs of it. Fasten the rolls with a toothpick and sauté in a little bit of oil.
  • If you can eat bell peppers (I can’t), it would probably be nice stuffed in there.
  • Wrap a piece of lavash or a burrito-sized tortilla around some of the cooked stuffing, add a little faux sour cream or cheese and some greenery and call it lunch.

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