Saturday, November 8, 2014

Recipe #300: Cranberry Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash

I wanted to do something grandiose for my 300th post, but really, that defeats the entire purpose of this blog:  proving that delicious meals aren't that difficult to make!  I was drooling over when I came across this recipe, which is perfect for fall.  I was a bit skeptical, though, as I was making it, thinking it would turn out bland.  I was dead wrong.  So full of flavor, hearty, filling, while still being very simple.  Nick approved enthusiastically!  My only regret is that I couldn't get a nice looking photo of the meal that did it justice.  You'll just have to trust me here...

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, plus some for brushing
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries  (I used a bit more)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped  (I added a bit more)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus some for sprinkling
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway  (I didn't have this, so I skipped it)
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Cut the top and the bottom off of the acorn squash, trying to cut off as little as possible. Carefully slice the acorn squash into 5 rings, cutting the acorn squash from side to side (not from top to bottom).
  3. Scrape the seeds and innards out of the rings and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Brush each ring with olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the rings and place them in the preheated oven. Roast the squash rings for 30-35 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. (I forgot to do this part.) The squash is done when it's lightly brown and fork tender.
  4. While the squash rings roast, heat the 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and cook, stirring often until the garlic gets soft and is just starting to brown. Add the dried cranberries and chopped rosemary and cook for about 2 minutes more, until the rosemary is very fragrant.
  5. Remove the herb-cranberry mixture to a bowl and add the ground beef to the skillet. Cook the ground beef just until no pink remains, then drain any excess fat.
  6. Add the herb-cranberry mixture to the ground beef, as well as the 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon caraway. Stir to evenly combine.
  7. When the squash rings have finished roasting, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Spoon the beef-cranberry mixture into each ring and place back in the oven. (I added some Parmesan here) Cook for 4-5 minutes more.  
  8. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, top the stuffed squash with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired, and enjoy!