Monday, July 11, 2011

Stuffed Summer Squash

It's been too long since I've been back here, but it doesn't mean that I have stop cooking. Since the last post till now, I've moved and it's actually given more opportunities to create food that I enjoy eating as well as Jacob, my better half.

One of the few rituals we have at home is that at the end of the week, we try to clean out the fridge by using the leftovers from the week to create new dishes. This week, the fridge consisted of chipotle tomato sauce from the enchiladas, rice, some mushrooms, and 4 calabash squash that we never got to. This gave birth to stuffed summer squash.

After washing and trimming the ends off of the squash, they were cut in half length wise and cored. To core, I used the tip of the knife to score around the seeds, being very careful not to cut through the squash. Using a spoon, I scooped out the seeds and set aside. The squash halves were lined face up in a baking pan, ready for it's fate!

Now it is time to get started on the stuffing! In a skillet, I heated olive oil over medium high heat. To the pot, I added 1/2 of small onion, chopped, along with 4 garlic cloves, chopped as well. Once the onions were slightly translucent I added half of the squash innards that were removed earlier and about 3 chopped baby bellos (about 3/4 of a cup). Seasoning for this was very simple: salt, pepper, and a pinch of thyme (mushrooms without thyme is blasphemous!).

I checked the fridge again at this point and realized that there were some mustard greens hanging out next to the cilantro. A little green never hurt anything (maybe chocolate cake, but who said I won't find a way to change that either). I took chopped up 3 leaves and let them join the party. At this point I went ahead and added about 1 1/2 cup of tumeric rice that we failed to finish during the week.

Once everything was combine, I scooped the mixture into the cavities that once held the seeds in the squash. Not to toot my own horn, but there was just enough filling for the squash!

The sauce was the tricky part for me. I didn't have enough of the enchilada sauce to cover the squash, but I didn't want to have to duplicate the entire sauce either so I winged it. The original enchilada had tomatoes, onions, cilantro, chipotle, yogurt, and lime juice so there were already a lot of flavors going on.

As with the filling, I went ahead and started a skillet with chopped onions. To that I added chopped tomatoes, seeds and all, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes are saucey, I added enchilada sauce. One thing that I got into the habit of doing lately is sneaking an extra veggie into each dish. For this one, I took a jumbo radish, diced it, and plopped it into the sauce. If you never had cooked radish before, it is AMAZING. The spiciness is complete replaced by a tangy sweetness.

The stuffed squash halves are then smothered in this tomato sauce, covered, and baked in a 350 degrees oven for 45 mins or until the squash are fork tender.

I served this with some boston lettuce and semolina crisp.

Squash are so versatile that you can do so much with it. A variation I would do on this dish would probably do a chicken or turkey stuffing instead of just veggies. If so, I would serve it with a side of rice. OR we can change the sauce up a bit and add a hint of curry. That would do a whole 180 on the flavor profile. I kinda dig this one.

Main photography courtesy of Jacob Fakheri

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