We've been rather successful growing squash this year, for the first time, well,- ever. Apart from 4 cute as a button mini butternuts they're all acorn squash, which means that I am unlikely to be doing much soup making. However I will be doing a lot of baking and stuffing
Acorn squash have lovely sweet & dense flesh, however most varieties, including the one we've grown are more seeds than flesh, which with their small size makes them the perfect vessel for making individual stuffed squashes, with all manner of delicious fillings.
We've also had an amazing crop of rainbow chard this year, which I adore. Their pretty stems at time seem to glow in the sunlight, and the stems & leaves are deliciously versatile. I use them in all manner of things, including chopped up and used in this filling. I rather overestimated the amount of filling needed for the 3 little squashes that I stuffed for this recipe photo shoot, so ended up using it tossed through some penne pasta, and I can tell you, this filling is every bit as delicious in pasta, as it is squished and baked into a squash.
One of the key things with squash fresh from the garden, is that you need to 'cure' it for a few weeks. In our case, we left a basket of squash by the back door, where they were well ventilated, but had a few hours of indirect sunshine each day. This dehydrates the squash a bit, which sweetens the flesh, ensuring it's rich and flavourful when you go to cook it.
This recipe isn't difficult, all you need is a bit of time. The squash are undeniably better if they are baked with the harissa mix rubbed into them, then left overnight or a day, before being stuffed and baked again. You can make it all at once, but it won't be as nice. I would suggest doing as I did, hollow the squash out & rub with the spice mix. Pop in the oven with another oven baked dinner (the Spanish-ish potatoes from my recent recipe for example).
Then, the next day, mix up the filling and add in, ready to bake again for around 15 mins whilst you get on with whichever sides you decide to serve this with. Spiced rice is nice. Or serve as part of a large Sunday spread. Or for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Harissa Spiked, White Bean & Chard Stuffed Squash
- 1 Baseball ( Or Cricketball) size Squash per person
- 2 Tbs Harissa
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Extra chilli powder to taste (totally depends on your chilli tolerance & the strength of the chilli!)
- Salt to taste
- A little Olive Oil to slick the squash & tin
- 5-6 large chard leaves
- 1 tin butterbeans , rinsed
- 1 small onion
- 1 garlic clove (or more if you like garlic!)
- 1 small pointy red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- a few sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp Marigold or other vegan stock/boullion powder
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- Salt & Pepper to taste
Firstly, dissect the little squashes.
With a sharp knife, dig around their stems in a circle, pulling the top out like a little plug.
Remove the seeds and loose insides. (Reserve the seeds to roast with salt & smoked paprika. Yum)
Rub the interior flesh with the cumin, salt, harissa and olive oil
Bake (including the tops!) in the oven for 30 mins at Gas mark 7/220C
Leave overnight or for a few hours for the flavours to meld together.
Combine the onion & garlic in a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil
Cook until translucent & add the pepper and the stalks of the chard, cook for 2 mins.
Add the drained white beans, white wine, herbs and Marigold stock
Simmer for 8 mins or so until the beans are softened
Add the green parts of the chard and cook for another 5 mins until wilted, mixing everything together.
Stuff the empty squash shells with the chard and bean mix.
Bake for 15 mins and serve ceremoniously in pretty dish.
This is really delicious with a bit of garlicky tahini sauce alongside.