Comfort food is the focus in our household these days. Caramelized acorn squash—piled high with a warmly spiced, Moroccan-inspired, SIBO-friendly meat filling—is just the ticket.
1 large acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 tsp + 1 TBL olive oil
1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 heaping TBL fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped small
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sumac
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 TBL dried currants
4 TBL tomato paste (roughly 2/3 of a 6 ounce can)
Splash of red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Grated aged parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Rub the inside with 1 tsp of olive oil, and place cut side down on a cookie sheet or baking pan (I like to line my pan with a Silpat for easier clean up).
Bake for 30 minutes—roughly the time it should take you to prepare the meat filling:
In a small non-stick pan, toss walnuts over medium heat until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and chop.
Meanwhile heat 1 TBL of olive oil in a large frying pan, add ground beef or lamb, and cook, stirring regularly to break the meat into fine pieces as it browns.
When the meat is lightly browned, make a well in the center of the pan and add your fresh ginger, stirring for 3-4 minutes until it softens.
Make a well in the center of the pan again (pushing ginger to the sides with the meat), and add your celery, stirring for 5-6 minutes until it softens and begins to caramelize.
Stir in chopped walnuts, cinnamon, sumac, pepper, currants, and tomato paste, blending well and cooking for 7-10 minutes to combine all flavors and soften the dried currants. Add a little water if needed to keep the filling moist.
Meanwhile, check the acorn squash, and remove it from the oven when it starts to caramelize, but is still just slightly firm when pricked with a fork (is “al dente” appropriate to describe the done-ness of a squash? I think so…) 🙂
Turn the acorn squash cut side up, and pack the hollow of the squash with your filling. You’ll need to press the filling in with the help of a spoon to get as much as possible into the squash (depending on the size of your squash, you’ll probably have some left over—a perfectly acceptable pre-dinner snack).
Top stuffed squash with grated parmesan cheese and place into the oven (on the same Silpat-covered baking sheet) for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is fully melted.
Serve with sautéed kale or spinach, if you like.