November 10, 2010

Apple, Fennel and Orzo Stuffed Acorn Squash with Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

Wow! Fall is here in full force and this meal will make you think of Thanksgiving, and rainy days all wrapped up into one fantastic fall ball! 

I've been trying to perfect the perfect Thanksgiving offering and I think this time around I got it: 

One: It's Vegan/Vegetarian
Two: It involves squash, which pretty much is Thanksgiving
Three: It is beyond seasonal, and insanely easy with little cleanup, who doesn't love that?

Apple, Fennel and Orzo Stuffed Acorn Squash
what you need: 

2 Acorn Squash
1 C. Orzo (whole wheat)
1 Tart Apple cubed
1 Fennel Bulb diced
3 Cloves Garlic diced
1/4 C. Currants (optional)
1/2-3/4 C. White Wine
1 C. Broth (veggie used here)
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp Cumin
1 T. Fresh Chopped Rosemary, Sage and Oregano 
1 tsp Salt and Pepper and some to sprinkle

Step 0: Cut open Squash and De-seed. Hold on to seeds. Pre-heat oven to ˚375. Heat up broth.

Step 1: Brush EVOO onto Squash, sprinkle half the amounts of Herbs and Spices on top followed by a dust of S&P. Pop in the oven and start step 2. 

Step 2: Put EVOO in saute pan, add garlic and sweat. Then add fennel and sweat. Then add apples, the rest of the spices and herbs, S&P and sweat. The starches and juices should start coming out and thickening the mixture up.

 Step 3: Gradually add the wine to the mixture, once the wine is mostly absorbed, add the dried orzo in.

Step 4: Gradually add in hot broth, be gingerly about it, and stir the whole time, otherwise it may burn. This in total will take about 15min. just pretend you are making risotto, you want to let the starches to release, and the orzo to soften. It is done when you notice everything sticking together. Add more or less liquid, remember you want the orzo to be al dente as well. Once done fold in Currants.

Step 5: Pull out the Squash, they should be browned and soft by this point, if not cook for a bit longer. Stuff the Orzo inside, this should make 4 perfect portions.

Step 6: Return Squash to oven and cook till brown crust forms on top. You are done!

Roasted Beet and Pear Salad
what you need:

Sheep's Milk Feta
Balsamic Vinegar
Walnut Oil

Step 1: Roast Beets with skin on for about an hour covered. Cool. Peel skin with a veggie peeler or use your fingers, I have found the peeler to be a little less intense.

sometime I wish I had a prep-cook.
Step 2: Prep lettuce and Slice Pears and Beets.

Step 3: Arrange everything in big bowl, sprinkle cheese on top and drizzle walnut oil, vinegar  and S&P.  Lightly toss.

Plate and Enjoy!

Oh yeah! The Seeds!

Step 1: place seeds in a bowl full of water, try and separate the gunk that is attached.

Step 2: rinse in a colander, pat dry and add to a pan, sprinkle in EVOO and S&P (or nut meg and cinnamon for sweet ones) toast in the oven till brown.


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