Every now and then, I see a recipe and it looks so perfect that I must make it immediately. October’s Martha Stewart contained one of those. The recipe takes a bit of time, but it’s completely worth it. It’s delicious, it’s cheap, it uses a lot of ingredients that I keep in the pantry, it’s a complete meal (meat, carbs, and vegetable), and despite it being about 350 calories a serving, it is unbelievably filling and satisfying.
Are you sold?
Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squashes
Martha Stewart October 2009
2 medium acorn squashes (about 2 pounds), halved and seeded
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 lb. ground chuck (95 percent lean)
2 tsp. course salt
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups water
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
I halved the recipe and it worked out fine, though I probably used the full 1/4 cup of parsley as well as 1/4 cup of chopped dates (instead of the raisins). I also subbed ground pork for ground beef. I realize this makes it not very Moroccan, but that’s what I had in my freezer. I think any ground meat would work, as well as any combo of dried fruit. I think you could easily make this vegetarian by using some chickpeas or even just increasing the amount of bulgar, dried fruit, and nuts a bit.
Preheat oven to 400. Place squashes, cut sides down in a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a 4-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add ground meat, a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer ground meat to a bowl or plate using a slotted spoon, keeping as much of the cooking liquid in the pot as possible.
Add onion, and cook until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. I didn’t have enough water in there, so I added a couple tablespoons of water to help the onions simmer without burning.
Add remaining teaspoon salt and the bulgur, and stir to combine. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Take pot off the stove and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
Fluff the bulgar with a fork, and add reserved beef, the raisins, parsley and pine nuts and stir together to combine.
The chopping of the ingredients and the whole bulgar mixture cooking time should take you roughly the amount of time it takes for the squash to cook.
When the squash is done, take it out of the oven. Let it cool a little and scrape it out to form 1/4 inch thick bowls.
Fold the squash flesh into bulgur mixture. Divide among squash halves, and return to the oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, about 12 to 14 minutes.
One squash half should be the perfect dinner for one person, though a salad couldn’t hurt. And a glass of red wine, of course.