Monday, August 03, 2009

That's One Huge Stuffed Squash!

Despite our best efforts, a giant yellow zucchini grew and grew, hidden by the big squash leaves, and became large enough to stretch from one end to the other, lengthwise, of a half sheet pan. Once these babies get to that size, there are limited ways to use them. One that works well is to stuff them. I'm only showing this blurred photo so you get an idea of how large this sucker was. Even this photo isn't of the whole thing.

Sweetie sliced this yellow behemoth into two along the length of the squash, then removed the seeds from one of the halves. I sliced a bit off the bottom to let it sit a little flatter on the Silpat (silicon baking mat). You can also line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Some of the stuffing always seems to escape the squash, so lining the pan is just smart.

The stuffing sort of came together from things on hand. I found a rice mixture in the pantry. It has wild rice, brown rice, arborio rice and medium grained white rice in it. If I had been smart I would have used all medium grained white rice because the wild and brown rice (an probably the arborio, too) made it pretty chewy, still a problem for me. Sweetie thought that it was a great combo, especially since I had added a half of a sauteed onion and some dried rosemary to it before it cooked, and cooked it using chicken broth for part of the liquid (but it would also taste great if you used vegetable broth).

The meat part was browned ground turkey, just seasoned with some pepper, broken into small pieces after browning. Another addition was spinach. You chop it, steam it, drain the excess liquid out of it and then measure a cup of it. Once the rice, meat, and veg cooled down, I added cottage cheese and feta cheese and an egg. This is one great stuffing! You could also use it to stuff savory turnovers or to make a meat pie or stuff peppers, etc.

Once the stuffing had been stuffed into the squash we added some pine nuts and put the whole thing in to bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

If you wanted this to be vegan, you could replace the turkey with smoked tofu or seitan and leave out the cheeses. I would also increase the spinach amount and maybe even add some corn.

The filling gets nicely crusty on top, the pine nuts brown, and the squash softens. A nice slice of this and a salad is a fine summer meal,

as long as it is cool enough to heat up the oven. I suspect that you might be able to duplicate this dish on the grill, but can't be sure until we try it. Although I didn't look at the recipe, this is reminiscent of the Zucanoes the Molly Katzen wrote about in the Moosewood Cookbook.

Giant Stuffed Squash

One half giant squash ( or 1/2 dozen halved medium zucchini), halved lengthwise, seeds removed to make a shell with some squash left in the shell
2 cups cooked rice (I used a rice mix, but use your favorite rice)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped finely
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. ground turkey, browned and broken into bite sized or smaller pieces
1 cup chopped, steamed and drained spinach
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese, broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon pine nuts

Place the squash shell(s) on a large baking sheet, lined with silicon mat, parchment or foil. Set aside.

Mix the cooked rice with the sauteed onion, dried rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. (I used chicken broth for part of the liquid to cook the rice, but all water is fine or you can use vegetable broth.) Set aside to cool.

In a heavy skillet, preferably non-stick, brown the ground turkey, seasoning with pepper to taste, then break up to small pieces. Set aside to cool. When cooled, stir in the rice mixture, the spinach, cottage cheese and feta cheese.

Stuff the squash shell(s) with the turkey mixture, packing the mixture in and mounding it slightly over the top of the shell(s). Sprinkle evenly with the pine nuts.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes to one hour for the large squash, and for 35 to 45 minutes for smaller shells. Squash should be tender when pierced with a sharp knife and top of filling should be brown.

Remove from oven and let sit 2 - 3 minutes, then cut in slices and serve while still hot.

Serves about 5 or 6.

9 comments:

Anh said...

Oh my. That squash is large for sure. :D

DaviMack said...

Yum!

If you run into any more, what we've done is to skin them, run the non-seedy part through a mandolin-slicer, and then dehydrate the resulting strips. They turn into little chips, and can be either seasoned or left just plain, to be used in zucchini bread all winter long!

Lisa Michelle said...

What to do when someone gives you a huge squash? Stuff it! Love your filling, and this conjures up memories of the giant zucchini a neighbor gave me a few years back. Outside of giant fried saucers of zuke, and zucchini bread, I was baffled as to what else to do at that time..lol Now I want another giant zucchini, just so I can try your recipe :)

Rose&Thorn said...

That is a very big squash - love what you did with it. My mom used to make this dish - brings back wonderful memories.

KJ said...

Goodness, that is one huge squash. You cannot stuff a squash without pinenuts. It's like some kind of rule. No no nuts.

giz said...

The squash that ate New York City - how did you miss it :).

A_and_N said...

My my! good use of the large size, I must say!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Wowsa, that's a squash! Great way to use a sasquash.

Peabody said...

That is one GIANT squash. Oh my. Looks good though.