Last night, just for the fun of it, I roasted a quartet of acorn squash. Then I filled the cavities with a simple saute of ground turkey, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, fragrant thyme, and a flurry of Parmesan cheese. The final product, which the Silver Fox and I devoured before a roaring fire, seemed to capture the very essence of autumn. After one bite, I knew I’d have to share the recipe with you.
The only problem with this main course? It did not have a name. I considered each of the following titles:
Stuffed Acorn Squash. Meh — too generic.
Acorn Squash Filled With Ground Turkey, Tomato Paste, Worcestershire Sauce, Red Wine, and Thyme. An accurate description, but too wordy for a movie theatre marquee, let alone the tiny title-box on this WordPress site.
Gobble-Gobble Squash. Bingo! It’s an appropriate title, too, because the dish contains ground turkey. Substitute ground beef, and you’ll have Moo-Moo Squash.
Here’s the step-by-step:
First, slice off the pointed bottoms of 4 small acorn squash. This way, your gobble won’t wobble.
Then slice off the stem ends, as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. Save these nifty “lids.” We’ll use ’em for decoration.
Now plunge a spoon through the exposed flesh…
And scrape down and around to remove seeds and fibers.
Tip! You can roast acorn squash seeds in the same manner as for pumpkin seeds. Here’s the recipe.
Put the squash on a baking sheet, and brush the exposed flesh and cavities with melted butter. Put the lids on the baking sheet, too, but do not butter them.
Roast the shells and lids in a preheated 425°F until the flesh is absolutely tender — about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling:
In a non-stick skillet, brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey breast, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. My turkey was 97% fat free, so it produced very little grease. Transfer the browned turkey to a bowl, and set aside.
Now pour a glug of olive oil into the skillet…
And stir in 1 large, minced onion. Lower the heat, and let the onion sweat until soft — about 5 minutes.
Return the turkey to the skillet, and then stir in a generous splash of good red wine (I used 1/2 cup Coppola Cabernet), plus a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce (about 1 1/2 teaspoons).
Then stir in 6 ounces of plain tomato paste…
And season the mixture with salt, pepper, and 1 generous teaspoon of dried thyme. (Make that 3 teaspoons of thyme if you are using fresh leaves.)
To hold the works in silky suspension, stir in 1 tablespoon corn starch blended with just enough cold water to make a thick paste.
Another tip! Taste carefully for seasonings — you might like to add more salt.
Spoon the turkey mixture into the squash cavities…
Top the filling with some shredded Parmesan cheese…
And bake at 425°F until the cheese melts — 5-10 minutes.
To serve, put each squash on a plate, and set the lid slightly ajar.
Then remove the lid…
And tuck into this autumn aroma therapy. Be sure to scrape some of the squash flesh as you eat the turkey filling — the combination is pure magic.
Think you’ll give this seasonal sumptuousness a try? Talk to me in the comments section below. As always, I love hearing from you.
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And here, just to make your life a little easier, is the gobble-gobble recipe in printable format: