Winter Squash Stuffed with Quinoa, Mushrooms and Cranberries

Winter Squash

Baked squash is a must on every holiday buffet.  This recipe took a bit of fussing with; our first attempt the grain was too large.  When we combined all of the ingredients with the quinoa everything came together beautifully.  The earthiness of the grain and mushrooms with the sweetness of the cranberries was what we were looking for to stuff the squash.  We couldn’t decide between the butternut and the delicata, but both worked and reheating the next day they were just as delicious.  Again this is a side dish that could also work as a vegetarian entree.  Serve with Tieton Cider Works Perry.

Yield: 6 servings

3 small squash, halved and seeds removed (Butternut is my favorite, but acorn,
delicata and kabocha squash all work well.)
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing squash
1 large shallot, minced
5 stalks celery, thinly sliced crosswise, leaves reserved
12 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup celery leaves
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups coarsely-grated gruyère
Splash sherry vinegar
¼ cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven 450F.

Lightly brush the cut-sides of the cleaned squash with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.   Place cut-side-down on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast until the flesh is softened and the cut edges are pale golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Turn cut-side-up and set aside to cool slightly.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375F.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling: heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the oil.  When hot, add the shallot and celery.  Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms have released most of their moisture and begun to turn golden brown.  Set the vegetables aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the cooled mushroom mixture, quinoa, celery leaves, scallions, parsley, cranberries, cheese and cream.  Stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper or more sherry vinegar as desired.

Spoon the quinoa mixture into the squash, taking care not to pack it in too tightly or level the tops; you want a nice mound of filling in each squash. Place the stuffed squash back on the parchment-lined sheet pan and bake until the cheese is melting and the squash is deep golden brown on the edges, about 25 minutes.  Serve hot.