2 acorn squash
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a large baking sheet, place the squash in the oven for 30 minutes, remove, cut in half and remove and discard the seeds. (Cooking it whole makes it much easier and safer to cut in half.) Put squash, cut-side down, back on the baking sheet with ¼ cup water, for another 20 minutes or until soft.
2. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, bring the water and the rice to a boil on medium-high heat, about 4 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until tender and liquid has been absorbed.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, warm 3 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the pork. Cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes, then add onions, garlic, apples, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook another 6 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add the brown rice, mix well.
4. When squash is done, turn cut-side up in the baking dish. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the center of each squash half and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide the meat and rice mixture amongst the four squashes and fill the centers. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve. (If your squashes are big, you may want to cut into quarters to serve.)
This recipe may be made with other winter squashes, such as butternut, kabocha or sweet dumpling squash.
This recipe is delicious made with other ground meats, such as ground turkey, chicken or beef. For a vegetarian version, use beans or cubed tofu in place of meat.
More About Acorn Squash
How to Select
Select acorn squash that are dull and heavy for their size. Avoid squash with soft spots or cracks.
How to Store
Store acorn squash in a cool, dry area away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. Acorn squash can stay fresh for up to 3 months.
How to Prepare
Puree roasted or steamed acorn squash and use it as a sauce over pasta or with meat. Mix thinly-sliced squash strips with whole wheat noodles. Thinly slice acorn squash, then add a little cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg and either steam or microwave. Make a delicious cream of acorn squash soup and then, for a festive presentation, bring it to the table served inside hollowed-out squash halves.