Saturday, September 10, 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Spicy Curried Beef

Acorn squash becomes an edible "bowl" for spicy curried beef in this simple recipe. You can also serve the curried beef over rice instead. When paired with a salad or other side dish, you can serve a stuffed acorn squash half per person so that one squash feeds two people. Alternatively, you can use two squashes and double the ingredient quantities for the curried beef.

I made this recipe using a mixture of 1/2 organic ground beef and 1/2 ground venison, and you can probably use other ground meat such as turkey or chicken. I used Bolst's brand hot curry powder, available around here at Indian groceries--Greg brought back a can from his most recent trip to Bangalore, India--but you can use whatever curry powder you prefer. The raisins or currants add a pleasant sweet counterpoint to the savory curry flavor.

1 large acorn squash
1 lb ground beef or other ground meat
1 Tbs ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 small sweet peppers such as lipstick peppers*, de-seeded and diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, preferably a ripe red jalapeno, de-seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping Tbs curry powder
1/2 cup raisins or red currants

Brown the ground meat in a large frying pan until almost done. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat to a bowl, then drain the grease from the pan. Add the ghee or oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and saute until just softening. Add peppers and garlic, saute for 2 or 3 minutes until softened, then stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute while stirring. Add the drained beef and raisins or currants and stir well to combine. Cover, reduce heat and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the meat is cooking, split the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down in a microwave-proof pan, add 1/2 inch of water to the pan, cover and microwave until the squash is soft, about 10 minutes (time will vary depending on microwave oven wattage).

When meat and squash are fully cooked, carefully remove the squash halves from the microwave and place on a platter or dish cut-side up. Use a large spoon to stuff each squash half with the curried ground beef. Serve hot. If you have leftover curried meat, you can refrigerate and enjoy later over rice, on its own or even in a pita.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

*Lipstick peppers are a mild pepper that's longer than a jalapeno pepper. Their flesh is thick and meaty and their flavor is very sweet with fruity notes, making them an excellent choice to enjoy raw in salads or with dips. Lipstick peppers are longer than a jalapeno pepper, about 2 or 3 inches long. They're a beautiful deep green when unripe, and turn bright reddish-orange when ripe.

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