As autumn is upon us, the selection and quality of hard squashes available in the store or the farmer’s market is rapidly increasing. No time like the present to pick one up and start rotating in some seasonal veggies (seriously, it may be time to start backing away from tomatoes, zucchini and other summer veggies for a bit)! This recipe is similar in concept to the Stuffed Delicata Squash that I blogged last year, yet the flavor profile is quite different. If you are going to use ground beef, try to opt for grass-fed and organic whenever possible. Trader Joe’s now carries a 1-lb package for about $6.50 which is pretty reasonable considering I’ve seen the Whole Foods here in SoCal sell it for $9.99 / lb. This recipe is very easy to double to give you leftovers for the week…work smarter, not harder!
1 large acorn squash
1# ground beef
1 apple (any variety)
6 slices of bacon
*1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
*Note: when it comes to herbs and spices, I absolutely hate measuring them and usually just eyeball it. This is cooking, not baking, so quantities don’t have to be precise for the recipe to work out just fine. Adjust quantities to your taste or what’s available but just remember, it’s always possible to add more but very hard to take away!
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or dish with foil or parchment paper.
2. Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Place on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to the touch. **While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing.
3. Dice the apple and onion into medium-sized pieces. Slice the bacon into pieces.
4. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the apples and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the bacon / onion / apple mixture to a large bowl.
5. In the same skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef (note: if the beef has yielded a lot of fat and is not grass-fed, you may want to drain it before adding the spices and herbs). Add all spices and herbs: rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, sage, pepper, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Pour the ground beef into the same large bowl. Stir to combine.
6. When the squash is cool to the touch, use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh and mix into the beef.
7. Use a spoon to fill the squash boats with the beef mixture.
8. Return the squash to the oven and bake another 15 minutes at 375 degrees F until everything is heated through.