Stuffed Acorn Squash

I know, I know. I recently posted a stuffed hubbard squash recipe. But, squashes abound in all the markets, and I can't see a reason not to take advantage of them with different types of fillings. Or, you know, turning them into fillings for other things. Either way, really. So long as there's squash involved. This one is a lot simpler than the last I posted. My process also was a bit different this time. I found the squash in the dining nook/library, nestled in my shelves and hidden completely by books. Had I not actually been searching for a specific text, I can't even begin to guess how long it would've languished there before I found it. As it is, I'm sure that squash has been chilling in the shelves for quite some time, getting a nice, well-rounded education via osmosis. Anyway, I digress. Again.

Since I found this squash, and also found a bag of barley in the pantry (honestly, I'd thought I needed to buy more barley), and I love squash and I love barley, it seemed to me that the most sensible thing to do was to combine them into a single recipe. And so it is. My fridge is bordering on criminally empty (in my world, anyway. Probably not in most people's worlds), and as such I didn't have a massive stack of veggies waiting for some stroke of brilliance on my part (which this is not. This is easy food for making after school or work that takes some time to prepare but mostly in terms of inactive time, which is what those of us who have 4 books and several essays to read by Monday, plus some grading to do and a paper to revise, need). I had a carrot left, and an onion left... and the tiniest middle part of a head of celery left - you know, the part that's still there once you've filled all the big stalks with peanut butter (is that just me?), and is mostly 2 inch stalks surrounded by clouds of leaves? Yeah, that's what I had left. Oh, plus a tangerine. That little guy was looking pretty sad, so I thought he could have a place in all this as well.

Then I just sort of thought, since all this food was going to have the sweetness of both the squash and the tangerine, I might like to spice it up a bit. So there's that too. But otherwise, this is one of those "let the ingredients speak for themselves with very little additional spicing" recipes I've become so fond of over the last year or so. Accordingly, if there're things hanging out, going to waste in your kitchen, I personally think this is a fantastic way to use them up. I wish I had a tiny eggplant to put in the filling. Maybe one of y'all have one and will make this and can tell me how it went. Because, y'know... y'all might be subject to more stuffed squashes from me, if I have one of them and an eggplant to play with. And that'd just be terrible, wouldn't it?

Oh, and, sorry about the no picture thing today. My camera was sitting on the counter just waiting for the squash to come out. But then the squash came out, Ross and I got excited, and we just started eating. I totally forgot to actually snap the picture and that cameras need humans to push their buttons or nothing gets done.

So here's the recipe. Hope you enjoy!

1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and deseeded (reserve seeds for roasting and snacking)

1/2 cup barley
1 1/4 cups water (or broth; I ran out of broth yesterday when Ross made risotto for dinner)
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 onion, sliced into quarter moons
1/2 cup sliced celery and leaves
1 carrot, sliced
juice of one tangerine
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (you may substitute 1/4 teaspoon cayenne if you prefer)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil (alternately, use some bacon grease, schmaltz or tallow for this; I have tallow but it was frozen in a big block and thereby useless to me here)

Turn on oven to 400F. Put the squashes in a baking dish and put water in the dish to half way up them (if you remember. Which unlike me, I'm sure you'll do) and roast them for 45 minutes or so, covered. While that's happening, combine the barley group in a small saucepan and cook for about 40 minutes. You may drain the extra water if you like, or you may leave it to soak in (I forgot I was cooking, so...). Put all of the last group of ingredients in a small skillet and cook over low heat until the smell reminds you that you were cooking. Combine barley and cooked veggies and stuff squash halves with it. Roast the whole shebang for another 15 minutes. Serves 2.


  1. So what you're saying is, squash is cheap and you like it, so we're going to be reading about it for a while?

    Also... Do I saute the veggies and stuff longer if I'm in a room where I can't smell the kitchen?


  2. Probably so, j. You know how I get with my favourite seasonal ingredients. I've still got a massive pumpkin and a sweet potato in the stacks to deal with too. I've already got plans for that pumpkin though (which entailed me emptying out much of the freezer, since I've no intention of roasting and pureeing this one), so I won't be stuffing it. Also too, I think Ross (and his olive hating self; weird) appreciates the deviation from puttanesca, which I make at least once a week.

    You know, I do saute the veggies and stuff longer when I'm in a room where I can't smell the kitchen. Half the time, that's exactly why I end up forgetting that I'm cooking. :)

    Do you ever have it happen that you stuff a squash, then feel a nearly overwhelming temptation to put the whole thing back together, stuff the squash in your backpack and go off to do other things? I always want to do that, but I figure the stuffing will come out before I'm done nibbling at it and ruin my books.

  3. I rarely make it to actually stuffing the squash. I usually just have the mix on the side. And then the baked squash. Or I turn the squash into something like mash or pancakes or gnocchi.

    Also, olive hating? Srsly? He eats other pickled foods though, right?

  4. Oh, man. I was telling Ross about how yummy your gnocchi sound the other day. And now you remind me of them again! I may need to make some and get them out of my head.

    Yeah, isn't that weird? He hates olives, though he'll eat them if they're in something (like puttanesca, or if I put them on pizza or whatever). I think it's so bizarre he hates them, but at the same time I'm kind of glad because that means I get them all to myself and I don't have to share. I think the only other pickle type I've seen him reject is makdous. He didn't hate those, but he didn't like them enough to decide that he should eat them when I love them so. I can't imagine a world without olives though, seriously.


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