This week my column was on Hubbard squash. As much as I love squash, I had never tried hubbard. Usually they’re too big(especially considering that besides the kids I’m the only one eating it) and to be honest I’m a little scared of them. When I was asking about squash for my column, a lady at the market pointed me to these small squashes in different colors that are actually smaller hubbard squashes. Awesome! After giving them a try, they really are delicious, I’ll be buying them more frequently :) Have you tried hubbard squash before? What’s your favorite kind of winter squash?
If you’re serving this to kids it can be difficult for little ones to scoop out the squash but since the egg holds things together a little you can slice it into thick slices and then with a knife take off the peel, making it much easier for little ones to scoop and feed themselves. For even younger ones you could slightly mash the squash and mix in the quinoa to make a full baby meal :D If you don’t like the tartness of fresh cranberries(even though I find they do contrast with the sweet squash really well) you can substitute dried cranberries if you like them better. Surprisingly, my almost 2 year old daughters favorite part was the fresh cranberries so you never know till you try it
- 1 small hubbard squash or other small to medium sized squash
- 3/4C dry quinoa
- 1 1/2 C water or stock
- 1 tbsp butter, plus more for the squash
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning(or a mix of your favorite stuffing herbs and spices)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4C fresh or frozen cranberries(or substitute dried)
- 1/4C slivered almonds(or roughly chopped walnuts)
- 1/4C fresh parsley
Start by rinsing your quinoa. I measure out one cup of quinoa into a bowl of water, stir it and let it sit for a moment before draining completely. In a small pot heat the butter over medium heat and add the onion and celery. Cook for just a few minutes before adding the garlic and cooking for just a minute more. Then add the quinoa, seasonings and water or stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is soft and all the water is absorbed. Set aside until cool enough to add the eggs Cooking the quinoa filling can be done the night before and then cooled in the fridge overnight. The filling can also be eaten separately as a side dish if you choose to bake your squash differently.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
While waiting for the quinoa to cook, prepare your squash by chopping it in half from the stem(or just beside it) down. Scoop out the seeds and save them to roast or discard them. Place the squash halves face down on a baking sheet in an inch of water and bake for 30 minutes.
Once the quinoa mixture is cool enough, add the eggs, plus an extra pinch or two of salt. Stir in the cranberries and nuts. Remove the squash halves from the water and place cut side up on a fresh baking sheet then scoop the filling into the squash. How much filling you need will depend entirely on the size of your squash. You can also prepare half the filling if your squash are particularly small, by using half the amount of nuts, cranberries and eggs.
Pack the filling into the squash and be sure to mound the filling over the top of the squash if you have enough. Place squash in the oven. Bake until the squash is completely tender when poked with a fork and the quinoa filling is hot. This took about 30 more minutes for my small squash, but again will depend on the size of squash. The squash is done when the squash is tender and the top get golden and slightly crunchy. Once done, serve immediately. One stuffed half squash could possibly feed one person as a main dish depending on the size, but the squash halves can easily be cut in half or even quarters to serve as a side.