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Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash by Meredith Griffin

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash by Meredith Griffin

This recipe has evolved into what it is today over several years of tinkering with it.

The first time I made this, it was, well let’s say very bland that even my mom and dad were unenthused, and they tend to enjoy most things I make. It’s perfect for a crisp autumn evening because it’s hearty enough to satisfy, but still nutritious! On a chilly night, I’m pairing it with the Three Places Pinot Noir, but if you’re not ready for a red I think it will also pair nicely with the Stormy Edges Chenin Blanc-Viognier White Blend.

Ingredients for two people

  • 1 large acorn squash, halved and seeds scooped out
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Olive oil
  • Assorted dried or fresh herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano (if using fresh, you’ll want about 1tbsp of mixed herbs diced and if using dry about 2 tsp of mixed herbs)
  • Salt and pepper
Preparation
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°.
  2. Spray flesh side of acorn squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook squash flesh side down for about 30mins or until fork tender (*see notes)
  4. Once the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and let cool until able to handle.
  5. While squash cools, heat a sauté pan over med-high heat, add about 1 tsp oil and then add the onions. Cook until onions have softened (**see notes).
  6. Then add mixed herbs and ground turkey. Using a wooden utensil, break up the turkey as it cooks and cook thoroughly until meat is browned (about 10-15 mins).
  7. While turkey is cooking, use a spoon to remove some of the flesh from inside the acorn squash and place in a bowl. Be sure to leave some flesh so the squash doesn’t flatten.
  8. Break up the squash with a fork and then add cooked turkey mixture to squash and combine thoroughly. Add about half of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, toasted chopped pecans and salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Divide the mixture back into each half of the squash shells and top with the remaining grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
  10. Return to oven for about 5-7minutes while you uncork the wine and pour into glasses.
Notes
*The acorn squash can also be cooked in the microwave. Cook flesh skin down in a microwave-safe dish with about a tbsp of water in the dish for about 10 minutes or until fork tender.
**If while cooking the onions, more liquid is needed added 1tbsp of unsalted chicken broth or water as needed.

Why these wines

Acorn squash is not as sweet as some of the other winter squash varieties and absorbs any added flavorings and seasonings very well. Turkey can lack depth of the flavor and needs the boost provided from the sauteed onions, herbs and cheese. So while this dish is flavorful, it is not bold or overpowering. Thus, the wine to mirror it needs to be lighter and delicate, like Pinot Noir.

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