Beef + Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

A hearty stuffed acorn squash recipe- comfort food for omnivores.


Yours truly has been stewing. Not in the culinary sense, Darling. Stewing about Sting. And Oy, the photo of him ducking his head down in the back seat of his silver SUV outside the "exclusive" Hamburg brothel Relax. Ouch. A sheepish duck that possibly allegedly connotes canoodling guilt (okay, maybe he didn't actually canoodle-- maybe he innocently indulged in some very chaste and proper lap dances in a post-concert-suffering-from-exhaustion kinda way, you know, while sans wife Trudie and his six children).

Whatever.

I know I'm a little old-school on the whole marriage fidelity thing. I admit it. Marriage- in my book- means monogamy. If you can't keep it in your pants, Buster, why on Earth bother to marry? Go have fun. Who's stopping you? And, yes, even while I'm snug in my quaint monogamy I am well aware that many celebrity marriages are, shall we say, open arrangements (if not totally a sham-- arranged strictly for PR to hide a secret life and keep the heart throb action hero millions flowing in). But I have to ask. Exactly what brilliant meta message in a bottle does this send to your three beautiful daughters, Gordon? 

Oh well. I'm trying my best not to judge. Maybe Trudie's fine with it. Maybe she just got tired of all that tantric sex Sting blathered about in the press while their daughters were in middle school.

Back in the humble world of non-rock star status I may have to edit my Honda Fit driving playlist. I mean, there I was, scooting down to Santa Fe with my muffin-baking dish-washing stripper-free husband (to buy acorn squash, grass fed organic beef, roses and wine for our guests) and every other song blasting over the audio system- it seemed- was a Sting song. I spent half the time in the car reaching over to push the next button.

Man, said my ho-free husband, You're tough. So are you ever going to listen to him again?

The post-feminist warrior mother goddess stirred inside.

Done with Sting, I answered.






Beef + Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

You can stuff a squash with anything you like, Babycakes. Just as long as it's savory and tender and a little bit spicy and sweet. Did I miss anything?

Here's what I did.

Pick deep green same-sized acorn squash- figure on half a medium squash per person. I used three squashes for six servings.

Crank the oven to 400ºF.

Slice the acorn squash in half, lengthwise. Clean out the seeds. Place the halves skin side down in a broiler or roasting pan. [If any of the squash is really tippy- you can slice a thin piece off the bottom to make it sit still.]

Pour water into the pan- you'll need a good inch or two (this helps keep the squash from scorching/sticking to the pan). Prick the hollow of the squash with a fork to make a few tiny holes. Drizzle the squash with olive oil, and some pure maple syrup until it collects in the hollow. Don't be stingy with the maple syrup- you'll use it later. Season with sea salt. Place the pan into the preheated oven.

Roast the squash until it is fork tender-but not totally soft; you'll be baking it again. Meanwhile- make your stuffing.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium sweet or red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. organic grass fed ground beef
2 cups Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
1 small green or red bell pepper, seeded, cored, diced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A dash of spicy curry, red pepper, or other spice, to taste
2 yellow tomatoes, seeded, diced
1-2 teaspoons dried Italian Herbs, to taste- basil, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon raw organic agave nectar- or molasses
1/4 cup Muir Glen Organic Ketchup
1/2 cup of gluten-free organic beef broth
Fresh chopped parsley, as needed

Instructions:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onion and garlic; stir for a minute or two. Add the ground beef, mushrooms, pepper and tomatoes; season with spices and herbs and stir. Brown the meat a good bit. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar, the agave nectar, and ketchup; stir; keep it on a low simmer and don't over-cook it. Take it off the heat as soon as the pinkness leaves the beef. Toss in some fresh chopped parsley.

Remove the squash halves from the oven. Let them cool a bit in the pan. When they have cooled enough to handle, pour off the syrupy liquid (captured in the hollow) into a large measuring cup. Set aside.

Lower the heat in the oven to 350ºF.

Stuff each squash with the beef-mushroom filling.

Add the broth you made earlier to the maple syrup-olive oil mixture and mix well. Pour a little over the filling of each squash.

If the water has totally evaporated from the pan, add more- just an inch or two. Bake the squash for 25 to 30 minutes (or a bit longer if the ingredients have cooled), until piping hot- and the squash is tender.

Note: cover loosely with foil, to help keep it moist, if you like.

For serving, sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley.

Makes six servings.

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