Lamb & Nut-stuffed Winter Squash Recipe

Winter-squash

The last stuffed squash recipe you'll ever need?

Sunset Magazine describes this scrumptious, filling stuffed-squash dish as satisfying "even the most carnivorous Sunset staff members. Some kind of alchemy takes place with the onions, sage, and nuts to create a distinctly sausagelike flavor." After wiping the drool off our chins, Jodie and I looked at each other and said, "That's all well and good, but how about we throw some lamb in there too?"

And we did. This recipe works great with any winter squash that can be sliced in half and stuffed, such as spaghetti squash, delicata squash and acorn squash. A serving of one stuffed half-squash will fill even bottomless pits like me. The as-is vegetarian version is delicious all its own, but adding ground lamb to its sage-nut-and-custard mixture makes it sublime. Ground beef also works well.

Hosting dinner? This easy dish serves 4 people with 2 squashes and one pound of ground meat. You can serve it all its own, or add a small salad and bread if you want. Spoon any remaining filling into a ramekin or other small oven-safe dish, and bake it along with the squash. Serve it up later with rice, couscous or pasta, or slap it in a tortilla as a savory wrap.

Pretty simple, huh?

Get crackin, then:

Lamb & Nut-stuffed Winter Squash

Feel free to substitute any of your other favorite nuts, such as hazelnuts. Adapted from Nut-stuffed Delicata Squash Recipe, originally published in Sunset Magazine, October 2008.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or ground beef
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1/2 Tbsp. dried sage
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 winter squash (about 2 lbs. total, such as delicate, spaghetti, or acorn), halved lengthwise and seeded

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Optional: Some folks have reported better results if they pre-bake the squash for 15 minutes, stuff the squash, then proceed with the full baking time. We haven't done this, but do whatever works for you.

Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook 1 minute, then add ground meat. Stir occasionally, cooking until onions are soft, about 3 more minutes. Stir in sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, and parmesan. Stir in nut/meat mixture. Divide stuffing among squash halves, sprinkle with more parmesan, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 45 minutes.

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