I was first inspired to make acorn squash when I saw a recipe for quinoa and mushroom stuffed acorn squash at work. It was part of a vegetarian thanksgiving class, and I thought it sounded like something I'd enjoy making for a regular weeknight dinner. I grabbed the whole packet of recipes from that class, and managed to make the Sweet Corn and Gouda Bread Pudding as part of Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house. Then, I lost the recipes, and forgot all about acorn squash.
It didn't take long for it to come up again, though, when Cate blogged about Stuffed Acorn Squash in December. After that I felt like I saw acorn squash at every grocery store I went into, but I was always in a hurry, or already had a week's worth of meals planned. Trying acorn squash was always just one recipe below the weekly cut off. Finally, this week, I realized spring would be here before I knew it, and then I will soon be trading squash for asparagus and peas. The time had finally arrived; I would try acorn squash this week!
I searched the internet for various recipes, and ended up back where I started. Cate's recipe was a vegetarian adaption of a Martha Stewart recipe that had been blogged about multiple times, and Cate had already done the hard work for me. The bulgur was mixed with onions and garlic that had been sauteed with cinnamon and nutmeg, and the sweet and spicy smell was amazing! Joe and I were both practically drooling from the smell alone. The mixture was perfectly seasoned, and the golden raisins added the perfect touch of sweetness. A half squash paired with a salad was a perfectly balanced meal, satisfying and also really healthy. Make this before the weather becomes too spring-like, or else try to remember it for next fall when it'll really hit the spot!
Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash
3 small to medium acorn squashes halved and seeded
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp. course salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts
1 1/4 cups cooked or canned garbanzo beans
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the squash halves cut-sides down in a greased 9×13 inch casserole dish or roasting pan. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
While the squash is in the oven, heat the oil in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the onions, cinnamon and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and fragrant (5 to 7 minutes) adding 2-3 tbsp of water after the first two or three minutes to keep the onions from drying out or burning.
Add garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
Add remaining teaspoon salt and the bulgur, and stir to combine. Add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit covered for 5 minutes.
Fluff the bulgar with a fork, and add the raisins, parsley, pine nuts and garbanzo beans. Stir together to combine and adjust seasonings if necessary
When the squash is soft, take it out of the oven. Let it cool a little and scrape out enough of the flesh to form 1/4 inch thick bowls.
Mix the squash flesh into the bulgur mixture. Divide among squash halves, and return them to the oven. Bake until warmed through and tops are browned, about 12 to 14 minutes.