The evenings are becoming brisk. The afternoons are warm, and leaves crunch beneath your Keds. When you trot to Cousins for an 8 p.m. beer, it’s already dark.
It feels like chicken noodle soup weather, but you remind yourself that, really, it’s not that cold out. Plus, if you start in on the soup already, you’ll be sick of it by November.
How about using up those funny looking squashes, and those not-so-crisp-anymore-salad-finger veggies in your crisper?
Here’s a recipe inspired by my sister, Susie Fisher Stoesz:
1 acorn squash (or a squash about the same size), cut in half
1 cup rice, cooked
1 green or red pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
a handful of spinach, or green of your choice
1 apple, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp maple syrup
a dash of sage, thyme and rosemary
a sprinkling of nuts and seeds for the top
Note: the vegetables in this recipe’s stuffing can be substituted for just about anything - corn, celery, broccoli, or anything you’ve got on hand.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the squash with olive oil and a little bit of salt. Bake on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes, cut side up.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan, sauté the onion, bell pepper, garlic and spinach until slightly softened (about three or four minutes).
Once vegetables are softened, place in a large mixing bowl with the rice, apple, maple syrup, sage, thyme and rosemary. Lastly beat in the egg, so that the mixture feels slightly sticky. This will be your stuffing.
Remove the squash from the oven once it is tender, and divide the stuffing between the two halves of the squash. The stuffing mixture will be overflowing from the two sides. Place back in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with nuts and seeds, or cranberries if you’re really feeling in the Thanksgiving spirit, then grab some cutlery from the drawer and dig right in. You’ll be glad you opted not to have soup.
Published in Volume 67, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 3, 2012)