Stuffed Acorn Squash | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

A pretty, healthy custom. Ronnie Fein/JW

Sukkot has no totemic foods along the lines of latkes, but stuffed dishes are a widely observed custom.

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Of course, there are no halachah, or laws, governing the world of Jewish cooking. But if there were, making latkes on Hanukkah and matzo balls on Passover would be commandments. Sukkot is a different story. There are no such required foods in the sukkah; instead, we have a few minhagim, or customs that are widely observed. One of them is the serving of “stuffed” foods, to express our gratitude for the bounty of the land.

It’s a kind of Jewish Thanksgiving, and Stuffed Squash is a perfect dish for this joyful holiday. It makes a beautiful presentation and it’s healthy. There’s so little meat and not too much carbohydrate, but it’s filling enough for everyone.

Need more? There’s this: You can make the squash ahead and reheat them at the last minute. Or serve them at room temperature. They travel well to your sukkah, your dining room table or a friend’s house.

What better dish than this for Sukkot, or any other time?

 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

4 small acorn or carnival squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 cup chopped yellow squash or zucchini

1 cup ground turkey, chicken or veal

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

1/4 cup chopped raisins

1/4 cup chopped almonds or toasted pignoli nuts, optional

1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

2 large eggs

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down and remove the cap (you can bake it and serve it for decoration). Scoop out the seeds (you can rinse them off and roast them separately to use as a snack). Wrap the squash in aluminum foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until tender. Set aside. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. While the squash is roasting, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes, to soften them slightly. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the zucchini, turkey, spinach, raisins, nuts (if used), breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and cayenne pepper (if used) and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Mix in the eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the baked squash hollows. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 4 servings

Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of Hip Kosher and her newest cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com, friend on Facebook, Twitter at @RonnieVFein.

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