Every Tuesday I host a ladies' lunch in my home. Many of the ladies have dietary restrictions, so I try to prepare low fat, low glycemic-index meals to share.
Yesterday I had a three-and-a-half pound hubbard squash just calling to be cooked. Now I've never even had hubbard squash, so this was a true mission into the unknown. But I heard it's the king of all squash--so that was promising.
I adapted a favorite stuffing recipe. Now that I no longer indulge in bread, I try to replace bread with other healthy grains. And quinoa is one of my new favorites! So it was natural to use quinoa instead of cubed bread for this stuffing.
Here is the hubbard squash, already stuffed, but before roasting.
Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the cooked, stuffed hubby; however since the recipe made more stuffing than would fit in the cavity of the hubbard squash, I sliced open a butternut squash, as well. Here's a picture of that.
Winter Squash with Quinoa and Sausage Stuffing
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth/stock
1 cup water
winter squash (I used a 3.5 lb hubbard squash plus one 3 lb butternut squash)
1 1/2 lb sweet italian sausage, casings removed (I used low fat sweet pork sausage because I had it on hand, and added some red pepper flake to spice it up... but it would be good with hot sausage, too.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 med. onion, diced
1/2 cup dry white wine or stock of choice
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth/stock
1 medium tart apple, peeled, cored & diced (I used MacIntosh)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dates
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Place first three ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). When done, grains will be translucent and the outer germ layer will separate. Makes 3 cups cooked. Set aside.
Split or otherwise open winter squash. (For the hubbard squash, I cut a lid out of the top. For the butternut, I split it down the middle.) Remove seeds and strings.
Cook crumbled sausage in a large skillet in olive oil until cooked through. Remove sausage. Melt butter in skillet; add onion and saute until soft and transparent.
Add wine, broth, apples, dried cranberries, dates, salt and pepper, cooked sausage. Stir until combined; simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes to allow flavors to marry. Stir in prepared quinoa and remove from heat. Let stand 10-15 minutes. Quinoa will absorb remaining liquid.
Brush interior and cut sides of squash with melted butter. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Scoop quinoa-sausage mixture into squash cavity. I spooned stuffing into my hubbard squash and replaced the lid, put in a baking dish and added about ½ cup water in the bottom of the pan. For the butternut squash, I filled the cavity and piled additional stuffing over the rest of the squash on the cookie sheet, added some water to the bottom of the pan, and covered with foil to bake. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 2 hours. Serve hot.
My guests loved it--as did I! Here's an 'after' photo:
From the carnage you can see that we devoured the hubbard--and that we're not shy about eating! This was a perfect autumn meal. It would be wonderful as a Thanksgiving side dish... especially if you prefer to roast your turkey unstuffed, a stuffed squash is a real treat!
Warm, squashy greetings from my home to yours,