Saturday, September 29, 2012

Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash

I complain a lot about Georgia.  I do.  There's a lot (especially in my little corner of the state) that I don't like about it.  High up on that list is the lack of the nuevo-hippie type of amenities that I came to love living in California.

Wait, don't go.  I'm not a hippie.  Let me explain.

I love Trader Joe's.  Have you been there?  It's like a slightly granola grocery store, but way affordable.  I don't know how to describe it, but it's wonderful.  I'm not doing a good job of explaining myself.

In California I loved going to the farmers market.  I loved that good, sometimes organic, fresh food was right at your fingertips most of the time.  I loved that there was a Whole Foods where I could get any weirdo gourmet obscure ingredients I might need for the nutso recipes I like to attempt.  Also there are really cool bakeries, independently owned restaurants...'s just a dream come true, ok?

Well, I knew there would be less of that here in GA, but little did I know there would be next to none.  However, I recently found out from my friend Sara (who taught me to make macarons, baguettes, and crepes) that there is a food co-op available here every Saturday. 

Basically you pay 15 bucks on Monday and on Saturday they bring in kind of a grab bag of fruits and veggies grown locally...whatever's in season.  It's enough produce to get the two of us through like a week or two without needing to buy produce at the store...and it presents a fun and new challenge to use what you're surprised with.  Also it just feels awesome to buy local food for cheap and to eat in-season produce.

Anyway I'm done with my hippie rant now, thanks for listening.  My point is that, I got these beautiful acorn squash from the co-op this week...and I had not one clue what to do with them.  So I did this!

These squash were so delicious, roasted and stuffed with bulgur wheat, ground turkey, dried fruit and nuts, and a hint of cinnamon.  Sounds crazy I know.  Think exotic stuffed pepper.

These were perfect for fall and Jim couldn't get enough of them!

Moroccan Stuffed Acorn Squash
(slightly adapted from shutterbean)

2 acorn squash, halved and seeded (cookie dough scoop works SO well)
3 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey (leanest)
2 tsp salt
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
1/2 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 Tbsp parsley
1/8 cup pine nuts (or slivered almonds/chopped walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 400.  Place squash, cut side down, in a 9x13 casserole dish lined with foil and sprayed with olive oil spray.  Bake 35-40 minutes until squash is tender.

While squash is cooking, heat 2 tsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add turkey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1 tsp salt.  I used maybe 1/8 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg, but season yours to taste.  Cook, stirring until thoroughly browned.  Using a slotted spoon, remove to a dish and set aside.  If there is any liquid left in the pot, try to leave as much as possible in it.

Return pot to stove, add remaining 1 tsp oil.  Add onion, cooking until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes.  Add in garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant.  Add remaining salt and bulgur, stirring to combine.  Add the water, bringing the mixture to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to med-low and cook for 15 minutes.  After the 15 minutes are up, remove from heat, leave covered, and let stand for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, fluff bulgur and stir in golden raisins, parsley, and pine nuts.  

By now your squash may be done.  Remove them from the oven and using a cookie dough scoop or spoon, scrape the squash flesh out, leaving about a 1/4 inch of flesh between the outer skin of the squash and the hole you are digging in the middle.  Set the squash flesh aside for now.

Stir the ground turkey in to the bulgur mixture, and then fold in the squash flesh.  Spoon an equal amount of the turkey mixture into each of the 4 squash halves.  Place the squash in the casserole dish again, stuffed side up and return to the 400 degree heated oven.  

Cook about 10-15 minutes until hot throughout.  

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