This recipe is delicious as is. However, it's just a little butter heavy. In the future, I'd probably skip or ease back on the butter, or use a vegan substitution. I'd may also skip the sugar for the squash. I think squash is good enough by itself without extra sweeteners! For my Thanksgiving party, I just used cut-up butternut and acorn squash (readily available at Trader Joe's!) and mixed it in with the stuffing. I thought that'd be a more pot-luck friendly way to serve it, rather than having stuffed individual squash halves.
I've re-typed my modified version of the recipe they gave us in class. I've added changes and improvements based on my notes in class and what I've done so far. I've also included my own further improvements that I'd like to try out in italics, and well as additional information from the notes that I took during the class.
Apple, Sage, and Quinoa Stuffing
For the acorn squash:
4 acorn squash [or 2 lbs cut-up squash]
1 stick butter, room temperature [skip or use sub like Earth Balance]
3 tbsp brown sugar [This could also be skipped. Maybe use cinnamon instead?]
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
Cut the squashes lengthwise and remove the seeds so you have a hollowed out squash. [Obviously you skip this step if you have pre-cut squash pieces] Mix together the butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Generously smear the insides of the squash with the butter mixture, and bake on a parchment lined sheet tray until fork tender, about 40 minutes. Set aside.
For the stuffing:
2 tbsp butter [or Earth Balance]
1 shallot, minced
2 braeburn or gala apples, small dice
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups quinoa
4 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
1/2 c golden raisins
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp sage, chiffonade
Heat a heavy pot over medium heat and add the butter. Gently saute the shallots until softened, about 1 minute. Add the apples, curry powder, cinnamon, and cayenne and quinoa. Cook an additional minute to toast the spices.
Add vegetable stock, golden raisins, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until all of the stock has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to steam an additional 5 minutes. Fold in the fresh chopped sage, fill the roasted squash with the stuffing [or mix squash into the stuffing, if using cut-up pieces], and serve.
Here is a picture of the stuffed squash they served us during our cooking class:
And here's a picture of the version I did for my family Thanksgiving party, where the squash was in the stuffing:
Notes from class:
- Cut off a small piece from the side of the squash to help it stand up.
- Parchment paper is oven-safe.
- Keep fresh herbs longer by rolling them in damp paper towels in the fridge. They should keep for 2 weeks.
- When taking the squash out of the oven, baste it with the liquified filling that accumlates in the middle.
- When cooking the shallots, we want them to stay white. Keep them cool by lowering the heat. This is sweating them, NOT caramelizing them.
- Dried herbs are oil soluble and should be added in the beginning of the cooking process.
- Fresh herbs are water soluble and should be added at the very end. The longer they cook, the less flavor they will have.
- Toast the quinoa dry with the oil and spices to pick up the flavors.
- Dutch oven--large soup pot with cover
- Sage--has woody stems that we don't want in the stuffing.
- Fluff up the quinoa when it's done to make it look nicer.