Friday, September 13, 2013

Chorizo & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

The start of this Fall Crop Share round is my 1 year Crop Shareversary!  My very first visit to Nalls was last years Block Party, and that day I signed up for the Fall Crop Share.  So as of tomorrow, I will have been a Crop Share member for a whole year.  So to say Crop Share has been life-changing for me would be an understatement.  Granted, it won't get all of you your dream job and have you fulfill your childhood wish of working with a pig, but it will transform your eating habits, create new family traditions, and enhance your cooking skills.  So last year's Fall round was my first experience cooking and eating a lot of hard squash varieties, and this recipe for stuffed acorn squash was my first go round with this type of squash, and is perfect for your single-serve size squash like acorn and carnival.  There's just a touch of chorizo to help give this a bit more heartiness, and then the super protein and fiber from the quinoa and the antioxidants from the dried cranberries make this a hearty yet healthy rustic dish.  And the base recipe for baking up the squash is a great trick to use on most squash to soften up the flesh, especially if you're planning on scooping it out to chop or puree.

Chorizo & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash


1 acorn or carnival squash, halved and seeded
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I'm going to try this with some wild rice instead, too!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
3 oz chorizo, crumbled
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Coarse ground salt & pepper to taste

Cook quinoa or wild rice according to package directions and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place halved squash in a baking dish with about 1/4 inch of water.  To allow the squash to sit better in the pan, slice a small part off the ends to allow them to sit flat.  Cover with foil and bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes or until flesh is soft.

Meanwhile in a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic and onion and saute until translucent.  Add in crumbled chorizo and cook until slightly browned.  Stir in dried cranberries and parsley and season with salt & pepper to taste.  For an added zing you can also add a shake or to of red pepper flakes.  I've also chopped up kale or Swiss chard and sauteed it with the chorizo (as seen in the photo above), so this is a great way to use up some greens and sneak in some more veggies to this dish.

Stir quinoa or wild rice into the chorizo mixture and then stuff each squash half with the filling until mounded up.  Don't pack it in too tightly though.  Then place it back in the oven, uncovered for 8-10 minutes just to get a bit of browning on the top.

I served this with some baked carrot fries, which are as simple as peeling the carrot, slicing them into sticks, seasoning with garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper, tossing with olive oil and baking at 400 until they are golden brown.  Carrot fries are my jam in the Fall & Winter.  Forget sweet potato fries, carrot fries are where it's at!

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