Thursday, December 15, 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa and Herbs

But before this, came this - 

Packages = best mail ever, right?

Todd's parents have a tradition of giving the kids an ornament every Christmas, so that when they start their own families, they'll be set with a bunch of meaningful ornaments.  Since we put up a tree this year, Todd's mom sent some ornaments special to us!  Todd had fun unpacking them :)

Dinner tonight was acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and herbs.  

His & Hers:

Quinoa, which I believe smells like broccoli when cooked properly, is a complete protein that is also high in fiber and magnesium.  It looks a little like couscous, but it doesn't contain gluten. 

The dish comes together easily and has a lovely presentation, making it a great side dish to serve for company.

I might add that this meal went over really well, both on the blog where I found it and here - it's 9:30 p.m., Todd and I just got back from rehearsal for the gig tomorrow, and Todd is digging into the quinoa for round two - my pride is swelling ;)

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Herbs
From A Couple Cooks, serves four

2 large acorn squash (about 2 1/2 pounds each) or 4 small acorn squash
2 cups quinoa (white, red, or mixed)
1 pound leeks (we used 2 medium leeks, about 1/2 pound each)
1/4 cup fresh sage
1/4 cup fresh thyme
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1/2 cup walnuts
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

1 Roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each squash in half, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over the cut side (or 1/4 tablespoon over each if you use 4 smaller squash) and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and roast for about 20 to 35 minutes, until slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork. (The time will be less for smaller squashes; test with a fork after 20 minutes; if the fork doesn’t go all the way through, cook a bit longer.)

2 Make the quinoa: add two cups of quinoa to a saucepan then pour three cups of water on top.  Add a couple pinches of kosher salt.  Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Take off heat and let sit for five minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

3 Prepare the fresh ingredients: Chop off the dark green stems of the leeks, then slice them in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin slices (resulting in half-moon shapes). There will be dirt in between each layer of the leeks, so when you’ve finished chopping them, rinse them thoroughly in a colander. Remove the leaves of the thyme, and chop the sage leaves. If not already chopped, roughly chop the walnuts (we usually place them in a bag or towel and hit them with the back of a spoon).

4 In a skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks, and saute about 4 minutes, just before they begin to brown. While you saute the leeks, toast the walnuts – place them in a small skillet and toast over low heat, until slightly browned. (Make sure to watch so they don’t burn!)

5 When the quinoa is done, stir in the sauteed leeks. Then add the fresh sage, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Taste, and add more salt or pepper to taste, as well as a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

6 When the squash are done, spoon quinoa generously into each half. Top with walnuts and serve immediately.

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