I am of the belief there’s nothing that cannot be combined, piled and squished into an acorn squash. Am I right? First of all, they are so darned cute! These petite squash have a ribbed silhouette that makes them a beautiful display. Serving them cut in half as a single portion is a great way to create what seems like a fancy meal, but takes little time and very few ingredients. If you make these and decide to keep them for meals throughout the week, they are perfectly portioned. Sometimes I can hardly finish a half of one of these lamb and beet greens stuffed acorn squash because while seemingly small, they are incredibly filling. Hence, being stuffed… bad joke?
When I cook, I enjoy combining produce that I haven’t tried together before. Whenever you’re trying to come up with a recipe to stuff into a squash there are a few good staples to think about; have a variety of green, a type of meat, something for change in texture like a crunch, and something to give it a creamy consistency. What I do for the last one may surprise you. Essentially, to make the crevice for the stuffing larger, I scoop out a bit of the squash after it’s cooked and stir it into the filling, it results in a luxurious texture that also acts as a binder for the stuffing.
One of my favorite winter greens, aside from my first love, collards, are beet greens. They are light yet filling when cooked with their stems. They give off a slight earthy beet flavor without being over powering, whereas the delicate greens are reminiscent of spinach. The combination of the greens and the stems were perfect as it takes care of two stuffing needs, a green and a crunch. Not to mention, the color adds to the appeal of these cute stuffed squashes.
When trying to decide a meat for my stuffing, I really wanted to have a lot of flavor. This is why I chose to use lamb, because it has a unique flavor on it’s own that I knew would contribute nicely to the other components and especially contrast the sweetness of the acorn squash. However, any type of ground meat would be great, you can certainly substitute ground beef or even turkey in place of the lamb.
Through the cooking process with these squash, the result is an extremely tender and soft flesh, not mushy as they can become after cooking for too long. They have to be able to hold up to the stuffing, and in this case they do wonderfully. I thoroughly enjoyed these and since they are a cinch to make they work perfect for me to batch cook and have throughout the week. Also, if you make extra of the stuffing, it’s great on salads, in stir-fries or in scrambled eggs if you’re able to tolerate! So stuff yourselves silly!
LAMB & BEET GREENS STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
1 lb ground lamb
2 tablespoons fresh Thyme
Olive oil for drizzling
4 cups beet greens (including the stems)
4 large cloves garlic minced 1 medium onion diced finely
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon clove
1/4 tsp salt
1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
2. Rinse and clean acorn squash. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Cover baking sheet in parchment paper. Olive oil each half squash lightly and place open face down in the oven for 30 min.
3. Meanwhile dice the onion until finely chopped. Heat skillet to medium and being cooking the onions in the oil until translucent. Add garlic minced and stir to combine.
4.Then add the ground lamb and all spices begin incorporating and browning the meat slightly.
5.Once browned add in the beet greens and stems and combine until well incorporated but not fully cooked.
6. Once the squash is done pull out of the oven and wait for it to cool. Once cool enough to handle gently scrape out a little of the squash from each hole, deepening the hole but not widening it. Roughly 1/2 cup of the squash should come out in total between the four. You’ll notice that towards the bottom it is not fully tender and you want it to be this way.
7. Then use the extra squash by mixing it into the stuffing to have a creamy effect. Once combined, stuff each squash amply and put back in the oven face up for 20 more minutes. Serve and devour.