It’s all about balance folks. A couple days ago we had a pork feast, today – a vegan dish that brings classic fall flavors together – acorn squash, roasted chestnuts, dried fruit and woodsy mushrooms.
It seems not many people cook chestnuts anymore. They should, because chestnuts are low in fat – rare for a nut, and high in fiber. Perhaps because they are a bit of a hassle to peel. The trick is to use a sharp knife and never get your fingers in the path of the blade! The chestnuts may be prepared a day in advance and refrigerated. I actually recommend this to speed prep time for dinner!
I also found some quick frozen ceps in the freezer case at the ethnic market and had to give them a try.
This stuffed acorn is packed with fiber, protein, and great autumnal flavors. It’s also pretty to look at!
Chestnut, Mushroom, Cherry & Quinoa stuffed Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash halved
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 cup roasted peeled and chopped chestnuts
1 cup mushrooms divided
1/4 cup sweet pepper diced
2 scallions sliced thin
1 clove garlic minced
1 tablespoon olive oil divided
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Holding the nut between thumb and forefinger, and using a sharp paring knife insert the tip and cut a slit into the shell, turn the nut 90 degrees and repeat ending up with an X. Always have the blade running away and between your fingers.
- Place chestnuts on baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes. The peel where you made the “x” will start to peel back.
- Being careful not to burn yourself on the hot nuts (#$%&!), peel back the shell and the skin. They are easy to peel. They look like little brains. Cut nuts into quarters and set aside.
- Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds and stringy bits. Put cut side down in roasting pan. Add 1 cup water and put in hot oven. Roast for 1 hour or until tender.
- Saute the peppers and half the mushrooms with a pinch of salt in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, until soft but not browned. Set aside.
- Repeat with garlic and the rest of the olive oil and mushrooms. Set aside.
- About 1/2 hour before squash is done, cook quinoa according to package instructions, once cooked, fold in pepper/scallion/mushroom mixture, dried cherries and quartered chestnuts. Cover and let steam 15 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- When squash are done, spoon in quinoa mixture and top with mushrooms sauteed with garlic.