Monday, December 5, 2011

Merguez Sausage & Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash – Let’s Go Edible Bowling

I’ve received a few requests lately for a demo on how to do chili in an edible bread bowl. I’m not sure if these people don’t know it’s simply a round loaf with a hole dug out of it, or if they’re just into watching me teach incredibly obvious things, but that’s one food wish that may not come true. What’s next, watch Chef John make ice?

Anyway, unlike the aforementioned bread bowl, this sausage and rice stuffed acorn squash recipe is an example of an edible vessel that begs for a detailed demonstration. The stuffing is very easy, as is the cooking method, but the acorn squash prep does need to be done carefully and with precision.

As far as the ingredients go, this will work with any sausage, but please keep in mind you’ll want to adjust your seasonings depending on what you choose. I used mint because it pairs very well with the spicy lamb sausage, but basil or parsley may work better with a hot Italian sausage, for example.

This really is a recipe that’s greater than the sum of its parts. I love the way the flavors seep deep into the soft, sweet flesh of the squash. What a great cold weather meal. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 Portions:
2 acorn squash, halved, seeded
8 oz spicy lamb sausage, or any raw sausage
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 tbsp buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 egg
1 cup cooked rice
1 tbsp plain breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tsp olive oil
*Bake at 350 degrees F., loosely covered for 1 hour, then uncover for 30 minutes or until tender.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rum... balls... ?

nachumj said...

"greater than the some of its parts"
SUM of its parts

Yellow Starkey said...

You, sir, are glorious. This will most certainly adorn my table this week!

Sandra from Montreal said...

Yellow Starkey took the words right out of my mouth;)!
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes and techniques. My family now refers to you as "Chef John, the food GOD"! :)

Christine said...

I can't wait to make this! And a big bonus, I actually have all of the ingredients in my fridge!!

Christine said...

I can't wait to make this! And a big bonus, I actually have all of the ingredients in my fridge!

Biffa Bacon said...

"comforting rice" I like the sound of it!
Well done Chef John !

Joel said...

Would panko be an appropriate crustification agent as well?

Monica said...

Will make this with smoked venison sausage later this week. Just made a 4lbs of grapefruit marmalade.

Chef John said...

panko, yes!

Chris K. said...

I'm going to try this with a couple Toulouse sausages I got from the Chop Shop, our new local butcher in Asheville. Much milder than merguez, but the lavender might be interesting...

When I'm not feeling lazy I like to save the squash seeds, soak them in brine, and toast them in a low oven with some seasoning. They're a great garnish and an even better snack!

Anonymous said...

Can I use pumpkin instead of acorn squash, its a bit hard to find acorn squash in my country!!!!

Chef John said...

I guess if they were very small you could.

Basia said...

I really wanted to stick with lamb but couldn't find the sausage, so I got ground lamb instead & I'm going to tough it out!! Can't wait. This sounds divine. It's also been pinned! http://pinterest.com/pin/696181377/

Boogbite said...

The hubs is making this for me for dinner tonight. Can't wait it looks amazing!

Sam said...

Is the skin edible after baking?

Eric Wu said...

Looks delicious!

Chef John said...

Edible but not that appetizing.

Yellow Starkey said...

Look, Chef John, I don't know how kosher it is to comment twice on the same blog post, but it's happening. I'm eating one of these magnificent creatures currently and holy macaroni they're so good. Thank you for the recipe!

Basia said...

I'm with Yellow Starkey! Hadda post again. These were divine! The sweet, mild squash is a great foil for the spicy sausage! I was armed with squash, plain ground lamb, a well-stocked pantry and the internet. Home court advantage was that none of us have ever tasted Merguez, so I don't know how close I actually came, but it was terrific!

Chris K. said...

Update: Toulouse sausage-stuffed acorn squash. Success!

I had to tweak some seasonings for the milder sausage, and used sour cream instead of buttermilk/yogurt. I also broiled the squash for a couple minutes after baking, to get a nice browned crust.

Terrific recipe, will definitely use again!

Bitter Dan said...

Made this tonight with hot italian sausage and parsley. Came out great
and got rave reviews from my guests! Pic below.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dwinning/6480102663/

Chef John said...

Looks great!!

xiaokang said...

looks great!

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Hi Chef, I know that it perhaps might sound a bit like cooking sacriledge, but would it be okay to accelarate the cooking time and microwave the squash for a little while before finishing off in the oven? Thanks.

Chef John said...

Great idea! Nothing wrong with MV for veggies! :)

Steven K. said...

I've never cooked anything like this before. It was really good. Like everyone else, I didn't have any merguez, so I used what was around the house. In this case, it was venison/pork sausage with cherries. The cherries added some nice hints of sweetness here and there. To spice it up, I mixed in some Moroccan Harissa hot sauce as wel as some garlicl.

Not knowing anything about acorn squashes, I wound up buying nice green ones and accidentally left them around long enough that they turned orange. I guess you're not supposed to do that, but the flavor was still quite nice.

Mary said...

Great recipe! I altered it a bit and made meatballs instead. Rather than sausage, I used ground lamb mixed with garlic and chili paste. I added paprika, fennel seeds, and extra cumin to Chef John's seasonings and toasted them for a bit in a dry pan. While still warm, I added a tablespoon of olive oil and mixed into the meat. The red pepper was roasted on the gas stove for extra flavor. Because I wasn't using the acorn squash as a bowl, I only needed one. I steamed the squash in the microwave until soft and cut into small cubes. Everything else was pretty much the same. I refrigerated the mixture for a few hours so the flavors could blend. When ready to cook, I made 1-inch balls and rolled them in 3 parts breadcrumbs, 1 part grated Parmesan. They baked for 25-30 minutes at 350*f on a parchment lined sheet. (My oven runs cooler, so check after 20 mins.)

This made fantastic meatballs! They are going to be my Christmas Eve hors d'oeuvres tomorrow afternoon!

Chef John said...

wow! sounds great!!

conishkee said...

Hi Chef John, I just got back from the market getting what I need to make this sausage/acorn squash recipe. (I found some beautiful acorn squash by the way.) The only is, I got the ground lamb, but they didn't have, nor have they ever heard of "spicy lamb sausage", and this is a supermarket that has absolutely everything for the most part. However, what should I use in order to spice up the lamb other than cayenne, garlic, cumin, Adobo (I swear by this product), black pepper, red bell pepper, Worchestshire, salt and the mint? I will also be adding diced up onions in mine only because I use lots of it when I make lamb chops or shanks and my family devours it! Additionally, is this something I can prepare tonight, without cooking, wrap up individually real well, freeze and then thaw out and cook within 3 days? Please advise. Thanks.

Chef John said...

If you google Merguez sausage, you can see and use those spices, or what you said sounds great too! Not sure about freezing, never tried to make ahead. Enjoy!

Justin K said...

Heya, Chef - just wanted to let you know that I, too, used this recipe [earlier tonight, actually] and it was great. Thanks soooooo much! I couldn't land any merguez sausage, so I just went with a spicy Italian and rounded out the seasoning with same basil and oregano.

Keep the recipes coming, sir - I love following along!

A picture just in case you're curious:

http://tinypic.com/r/fum0eq/5

Anonymous said...

I'm cooking this recipe right now! Hope it turns out good! Takes a long time to cook though, I can hardly wait till its done! :)

SueM said...

Made this for dinner. I browned my Italian sausage first. Then added a little marseille wine to scrap,up,the bits. When the sausage was cool enough, I mixed the rest of the recipe in the pan where I cooked the sausage.
When I baked the squash, I added a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan, before tenting it.
We all enjoyed the recipe. I think next time I will try some mushrooms. Also would like to add a sweet taste, so apple or dried cranberries seem like an option.
Thanks for the recipe.

rsvegas92 said...

Hello there, sorry this is last minute, but I am rather curious. My family is vegetarian and were wondering if we could replace the lamb sausage with a vegetarian sausage. maybe chorizo? and if we did, would we be able to still use the mint? or what would be a good subsitute? Please and thank you!