Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vegetarian Holiday Main Dish, Posted by Melinda

Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash (photo source)
This is based on the idea of the "Three Sisters," a Native-American food tradition comprising corn, beans, and squash. Though the torrential rains of earlier this summer did in our own Three Sisters (from powdery mildew, no surprise there), we're getting great acorn squash, and I don't know about you, but I still have some of our corn in the freezer--there's nothing like pulling out summer corn as the weather starts to cool!!!! If you're vegetarian, this would make a wonderful main course for Thanksgiving.

Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash--This serves 8, but obviously you can make less by halving or quartering.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tsp minced garlic, divided
  • 4 acorn squash, halved lengthwise & seeded [to prevent halves from wobbling or tipping over on baking sheet or plate, cut a thin slab off the bottom of each half so it sits flat]
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder, plus more for sprinkling squash
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander, plus more for sprinkling squash
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen organic corn kernels, divided
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp melted butter or olive oil
  • 3 oz soft goat cheese or low-fat cream cheese (1/3 cup)
  • 3 oz grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (3/4 cup) plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cooked black beans or one 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (btw, Vegetarian Times says Trader Joe's house brand canned goods do *not* use BPA in the can linings--good to know)
  • 1 large poblano chile pepper or 1 small red sweet pepper, diced (1 cup)
  • 8 green onions (scallions) white & green parts, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine oil and 2 tsp minced garlic in small bowl. Brush squash flesh with garlic oil and sprinkle lightly with ancho chile powder and coriander [coriander is the seeds of cilantro plants after they flower!]. Season w/ salt/pepper if desired, and place on large baking sheet. Pulse 2 cups corn kernels in food processor till finely chopped & milky. Set aside. Whisk 1/2 tsp each of coriander & ancho chile powder into cornmeal, along with sugar, baking soda, salt, & cayenne in medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs in separate bowl. Whisk (into buttermilk mix) butter [or oil], then pureed corn, then the remaining 1 cup of corn kernels, goat cheese, Cheddar, and remaining 2 tsp minced garlic. Fold in cornmeal mixture with a spatula, then fold in black beans, poblano chile, and green onions. Divide filling among squash halves. Sprinkle each half w/ extra Cheddar, if desired. Bake squash halves 30 to 45 min, or till squash are tender and filling is set. Sprinkle w/ green onions. Squash can be prepared 24 hrs ahead, then reheated 20 min at 325 F. Serve and enjoy!  (source: Vegetarian Times, Nov. 2013)

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