Monday, January 11, 2010

Acorn Squash "Casserole"

I can't even tell you how many times I'll see a certain food on someone's blog and think to myself "OMG, I NEED to try that." I make a mental note of the ingredient or the recipe that caught my eye, and vow to pick some up on the way home from work/the next time I'm at the store/over the weekend at the farmer's market (select as applicable).

And promptly forget about it. Until the next time I see it on someone's blog. At which point I am nowhere near a grocery store or farmer's market stand. Wash, rinse, repeat.

One of those ingredients was acorn squash. I've seen it on any number of blogs - GraduateMeghann, Healthy Tipping Point, MegaNerdRuns, blah, blah blah. I like squash! I like fall flavors! Since sometime in September, I'm guessing, I've been meaning to grab one and try it out.

Finally -- FINALLY -- I bought one last weekend. I was going to buy two -- one for me, and one for PhillyGuy -- but he was skeptical. "I'll just try yours first." So, armed with a single squash, I waited for a night when he wasn't around to test it out. Tonight was perfect -- it's about 30 degrees out, he's at class, and it's just me and Sophie, so I experimented a bit.

I started by cutting the squash in half, scooping out the seeds, and baking it for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees, face-down in a jelly roll pan filled with a bit of water. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the acorn squash was to cut in half -- WAY easier than a spaghetti squash, which always makes me break a sweat.

While the squash was baking, I diced up and sauteed half a vidalia onion, some red pepper, a handful of portobello mushrooms, and half of an apple. I gave the other half to Sophie:

Sophie LOVES apples.

I cubed up a couple chicken breasts and added that, along with a package of prepared brown rice, a few glugs of beef broth I had in the fridge, and a handful or two of craisins, to the veggie mix. I seasoned the whole thing with some cinnamon, chipotle, paprika, salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of cayenne. The mix had about five minutes to simmer together while I pulled the baked squash out of the oven. I peeled and cubed the squash, added that to the mix, and let the whole thing chill together, covered, on low while I cleaned up.

Verdict: OH. MY. GOD. Acorn squash, where have you been my whole life?

(Answer: waiting patiently in the produce section for months and months and months.)

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