This month, we’re reaching into the past for Vintage Side Dishes.
You know, the ones that are truly missed when they aren’t on the table, glances from your brother to the aunt who always spends the morning creating the vegetable. The traditional ones of your youth, like these stuffed acorn squash.
Cooking a welcoming Thanksgiving for a mixed crowd of food loving folks seems like a huge task.
Multiple foods to juggle, the cooking times balance, the space shuffle for stovetop or oven.
Care taked to prevent the vegans from getting buttered vegetables, or the gluten-free person from facing wheaty stuffing.
But it also means lots of wonderful new flavors and textures to explore.
When your cousin announces that he is now vegan, challenging the traditions, some cooks take the challenge and wrestle it into submission.
This recipe is one of those.
My mother loved acorn squash in all ways. The orange fleshed vegetables would appear in our kitchen as soon as October in good years, savored till Christmas.
Mom loved sweet simple foods. When you have six kids, anything with a long prep time is unlikely to be served.
I remember watching Mom hatchet the squash neatly in two, and my less stellar attempts.
Baking them in a cookie sheet with a cup of boiling water to get them soft.
Cutting a sliver off of the rounded outside so they wouldn’t roll. Dousing them in butter and brown sugar before a quick trip under the broiler.
Crunchy sugar glaze resisting the spoon diving for the orange flesh. This is the way I remember acorn squash at our dinner table.
But that cousin, the new vegan, he really needed a dinner option. The turkey wouldn’t do as a main course.
- 2 small acorn squash- split and all seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots- diced
- 2 stalks of celery- diced
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 quarter sized piece of ginger- minced
- 1 red pepper- diced
- 1 15oz can organic garbanzo beans- drained and rinsed
- 1 jar Major Grey’s Chutney- or chutney of your choice- use a food processor and blend till smooth or hand cut the larger pieces finely
- Make sure all your vegetables are diced into similar small sizes. I match the size of the vegetables to the size of the beans
- Preheat oven to 350
- place acorn squash on cookie sheet cut side down
- add 1 cup boiling water to the pan
- place on bottom rack of the oven
- Bake ½ hour or till tender when poked with a knife.
- While the squash are baking, heat the oil in a frying pan
- add the vegetables when the oil is hot, carrots first for a minute
- then celery cook for a minute
- Add the onion, garlic, ginger and finally peppers
- Cook these till the carrots are tender
- remove from heat and add the beans
- Remove the squash from the oven,
- cut off the bottom if the squash are tilty or just smoosh the bottom flat a bit to make a stable bowl of vegetable.
- Stuff each cavity to overflowing.
- Drizzle with the major grey’s chutney puree.
- Return to the oven for a minute or so to allow the glaze to set a bit.
- Serve with rice or millet
This became my vegan guest’s perfect dinner. Self contained in the split half of squash, a savory mix of vegetables combined with soft beans, all topped with a lovely spicy fruit glaze that was sweet but so much more too.
We make these whenever we have a party now, simply because they’re perfect for vegans, corn-free, soy-free, gluten-free and very flavorful. Feel free to mix up the vegetables and bean you use inside.
Each one can be the start of something special.