Not wanting to either go to the grocery store or defrost a protein last night, I scanned the kitchen to see what I could make use of and settled my gaze on a White Acorn Squash. Acorn Squash is relatively new to me. I have seasoned and baked a few and tried a recipe I came across for an apple filling that I found to be overly sweet and oddly textured. I like the idea of the apple, but the previous recipe I followed included a lot of brown sugar, cinnamon, etc., and was on the cloying side.
Having somehow ended up with a mountain of Quinoa, I decided to use that for a protein to replace some form of meat. When a recently purchased container of curry powder came to mind, the apples and currants weren't far behind. Although the colors ended up being too similar - not enough visual contrast between the curry and the squash - the flavor was great. Maybe the next time I'm cooking for a crowd, I'll split lengthwise and roast a large butternut squash and fill it with this mix to be served family style.
1 Acorn Squash
Salt and Pepper
1/2 c Quinoa
1 1/4 c Chicken Broth (or water)
1 t Curry Powder
1 t Better than Bouillon Stock Base (or a chicken bouillon cube)
1 small apple, diced (peel on or off is up to you)
1/2 c dried currants
1/3 c chopped almonds
Preheat oven to 375°.
Split your squash in half from stem to bottom (you might need to slam it on the counter to get all the way through) and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
Brush the inside of the squash with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place the squash cut-side-down in a baking dish or roasting pan, etc. (cooking time will be determined by what weight-gauge vessel you are using). Bake for 20" until it just starts to soften, then flip it cut-side up to finish, allowing the edges to brown. For me, this took another 30".
While your squash is cooking, bring the Quinoa, Chicken Broth, Curry Powder, and Better than Bouillon just to a boil, then reduce and simmer until most of the water has been absorbed and the Quinoa has "sprouted."
While waiting on the squash and Quinoa, toss the almonds in a small dry pan over medium heat to toast. Stir or shake frequently to prevent burning, and once they are as browned as you like, remove them from the pan to stop them from cooking further. I used whole, skin-on almonds, but whatever you have handy is fine!
Dice your apple into small pieces, and when the Quinoa is just about cooked through, stir in the currants and apples and turn the heat down to low. This will allow the currants to plump up from the remaining moisture and the apples to cook a bit while the squash finishes cooking. Don't add your almonds yet - you don't want them to get soft; they're there for texture (and flavor of course).
When your squash is fork tender, use that fork to fluff it a bit. That way, once you fill it, when you scoop through the filling, you'll be able to get squash with each bite and not have to dig for it.
Stir half of your toasted almonds into the Quinoa mixture, fill your squash and sprinkle with additional almonds.
Hmmm, now that I'm looking at it, I wonder how cranberries would be curried?? Maybe I'll do half and half with the currants next time to add another color/flavor to the party.