Guest Author - Caitlin McLeod
Being a lover of winter squashes, as well as of ground turkey, I wanted to create a recipe to combine the two.
Turns out that the combination is fantastic! I first made stuffed butternut squash; next time I tried sweet dumpling squash. Both are very delicious! The striped delicatas would work equally well. I suppose most any hard squash would work, such as acorn or turban squashes. The smaller ones listed are the perfect size for two servings, once the squash are halved.
Stuffed Winter Squash
3 small squashes such as delicata, dumpling, or butternut
¾ lb. ground turkey or lamb
1/3 cup pecan pieces
6-8 scallions, trimmed
3 cloves garlic
6 leaves of fresh basil, rinsed and patted dry with paper towel
1 medium portabella mushroom
2-3 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
¼ to 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt or cream
1) Scrub the whole squashes, then cut off the stem end. Cut each squash in half, lengthwise for the long ones, crosswise for the dumpling squash. Using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds and strings and discard. Rinse the squash.
2) Place the squash halves in a glass baking pan or on a cookie sheet. If necessary, slice a small bit off the skin to allow the squash to sit balanced in the pan without tipping. Place the pan in a 375º F oven and bake while you prepare the filling.
3) Mince the garlic and slice the scallions, using the whites and part of the greens. Rinse and slice the mushroom. Roughly chop the basil leaves. Set the veggies aside.
4) In a medium skillet, melt 1 Tbsp. of the coconut oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the scallions and garlic until soft and barely golden. Remove these to a large bowl, leaving the oil in the pan.
5) In the same pan, sear the mushrooms over medium-high heat until they are golden brown and begin to release their juices. You may need to add more coconut oil. When mushrooms are soft, chop them small on a board, and add to the bowl of onions.
6) Add the ground turkey or lamb to the bowl, along with the basil, pecans and yogurt. Using your hands, mix ingredients until everything is incorporated into the meat. It should be fairly moist, even slightly wet.
7) Remove squash from the oven, and set pan on a hot plate or potholder. Put ½ tsp. coconut inside each squash half, then top with about 1/3 cup of the meat mixture.
8) Using a spoon, dab a bit of the melted oil on top of the meat, and on the edges of the squash (i.e. on the flesh). Bake at 375º F until the squash is tender and the meat is brown. Garnish with additional chopped basil, if desired. Serve hot with grains or rice and a green vegetable or salad. Enjoy the feast!