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Old Man Winter has finally caught us in his grasp.  The ground is covered with fresh snow; it is time for some comfort food.  Roasted winter squash is a quintessential cold weather food.  The delicate sweet flesh warms my soul.  I know many people add sugar or maple syrup to acorn squash when roasting it, but I prefer my winter squash prepared with savory ingredients.  I roasted the squash with just a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  I then used the cooked squash as a beautiful bowl to hold a warm salad with quinoa, roasted poblano, toasted pepitas, and raisins, tossed in cumin vinaigrette.

 

  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 acorn squash
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely diced
  • ¾ cup Quinoa
  • 1¼  cups water
  • ¼ cup raw pepitas
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe can get a little zany, and requires a little multitasking, but it is well worth the effort.

First, place the poblano on a baking sheet directly under the broiler, turning every few minutes until it is charred on all sides.   Remove the poblano from the oven and place in a brown paper bag. Fold the bag closed and let the poblano steam for about 5 minutes.  Remove the poblano from the bag, peel off the charred skin, cut the stem off and remove the seeds.  Thinly slice the poblano and set aside.

Switch the oven over to bake 400°.  With a large sharp knife cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds.  Score the squash a few times along the flesh, and then turn the squash cut side down on your cutting board and cut off a small piece of the skin in the very middle, so that the squash can sit on the skin side without wobbling.  Place the squash in a shallow baking dish flesh side up, and fill the baking dish with about ½ inch of water.  Drizzle the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Roast the squash for 30 minutes.  Remove the squash from the oven.  Fill the squash with the diced onion and garlic and place back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes.

While the squash is roasting put the 1¼ cups of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa to the saucepan, stir and reduce the heat to low.  Cover and let cook 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes before taking off the lid and fluffing with a fork.

While everything else is cooking, spread the pepitas out on a small baking sheet and pop in the oven for 5 minutes to toast.

In a small bowl prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, vinegar, and cumin.

When the squash, onion and garlic has finished roasting, scoop the garlic, onion, and some of the flesh into a large bowl (do not dig too far into the flesh because the skin is very delicate).  Add the quinoa, poblano, toasted pepitas, raisins and vinaigrette to the bowl and stir to combine.  Place the squash skins on a serving platter and carefully spoon the quinoa mixture back into the squash bowls.  Enjoy and stay warm!

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