February is upon us, and with that, some more cold weather… warm yourself up with this amazing stuffed acorn squash with ground turkey, mushrooms, and tart cherries.
This dish is easily customized with any kind of medium-sized squash (kabocha is another, sweeter, favorite of mine) and you can use ground beef or chicken and honestly mix in whatever you’d like.
Now, a note about mushrooms — have you ever noticed that when you’re sautéing mushrooms, they give off a significant amount of liquid? Well, that’s because mushrooms go through three stages when they are being cooked: dry, wet, dry. They start off dry when you put them into the pan, but they then give off a lot of liquid. Most people get nervous at this point and try to pour out the liquid or increase the heat – I’d tell you to just be patient. The third stage that mushrooms go through is when they reabsorb all of the liquid back into them, like a sponge. It is very important to wait for that stage before taking the mushrooms off the heat. It is also important that you want to wait until the mushrooms’ dry stage to add salt because, salt draws the moisture out of food, thus creating even more liquid.
Now, in this instance, there is even more added liquid from the broth, so you may not even notice the mushrooms going through their wet stage, you’ll just see when it reabsorbs the liquid and broth back in!
Turkey, Mushroom, and Cherry Stuffed Acorn Squash
Yield 4 servings
- 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, and extra to spray the acorn squash with
- 2 cups chopped button mushrooms
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (or 4 slices, if sliced) of provolone, gruyere, Swiss or your favorite cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Spray the insides of the acorn squash with olive oil and lay, cut side down onto a baking sheet.
- Bake the acorn squash for 10 minutes, then turn over and cook for an additional 10-15, or until it is tender.
- While the squash cooks, sauté the ground turkey in a large skillet in the olive oil until it starts to brown.
- Add in the mushrooms, dried cherries, chicken stock, rosemary, and pepper (not salt yet) to the pan and cook for an additional 5 or so minutes, until the mushrooms begin to dry out a bit and the flavors blend together.
- When the squash is done, scoop most of the squash out into the skillet and mix with the mushrooms, turkey, etc. Add the salt to the mixture at this time.
- Add the squash and turkey mixture back into the squash shells and top with the cheese.
- Place back into the oven to allow the cheese to melt.
- (Optional) if you want to broil the squash for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is browned.
Courses Lunch or Dinner