One of my favorite winter gourds is the humble acorn squash. Like all squash, it possesses the inherent ability to support sweet and savory flavors, which makes it as effortless as Chris Martin doing interpretive yoga during a concert.
There are numerous ways to prepare this golden gourd, but the best way to extract the most flavor possible is through roasting. Slice it in half lengthwise, and you have a lovely heart shape waiting for your spoon to gut it. Slice it in half vertically, and you have a handy bowl to hold all manner of sweetness. Can you guess which way I choose to prepare it?
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
3 cups water
2 acorn squash, halved and de-seeded
1 bunch kale, chopped
6 oz mushrooms, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 small apple, chopped
1 small head of fennel, chopped
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Take your squash and cut them in half. Scoop out their seeds and the stringy insides. You'll be tempted to reserve the seeds and con yourself into believing that you will roast them. Don't believe your own seed-roasting hype. Throw them in the compost bin. Rub the squash down with a little bit of oil and salt. Place your squash on a baking sheet and roast in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.
While your gourds are getting soft, combine water, salt, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, lentils and quinoa in a medium sauce pan. Stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover.
Sauté shallots, mushrooms, and fennel with a tablespoon of oil on medium heat until soft. Add apple and kale, and cook until kale is wilted.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked lentils, quinoa, and sautéed veggies. Spoon mixture into roasted acorn squash halves, and bake for an additional 5 minutes on 375 degrees. Top with chopped walnuts or pecans, and eat immediately. And maybe practice your interpretive yoga moves. Namaste, my friends!