Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stuffed Red Kuri Squash #SundaySupper

Beautiful Kuri squash are perfect for stuffing and roasting. If you can’t find them though, a butternut or tender pumpkin would also work for this recipe made with spicy Italian sausage.

Last year I heard the news that a great new farmers’ market was set to open in Safa Park, a lovely green space not far from the coast here in Dubai. But weekend after weekend other plans got made (and brilliantly executed) and we never did seem to get to the park, until finally, in late May, it happened.

To the Market, finally!
Now the farmers’ market had gotten good press regularly since opening so I knew it had fabulous food trucks and loads of fresh vegetables. The gourmet butcher would be there along with folks with games for the children and shopping opportunities from select purveyors of sauces, baked goods, jams, all natural ice cream and many handmade crafts. So, as you can imagine, I was rubbing my hands together with glee as we made our way there. Due to a big construction project along one side of the park, the normal entrance had been changed so we circled the containing wall, looking for the right gate. Whew! Found it. And snagged the last parking place in the parking lot just outside! By this point, I was clutching my shopping bags and practically skipping through the gate, only to be brought up short by the sight of one lone booth with fresh vegetables. And that’s it. Turns out that the farmers’ market had closed for the summer the weekend before but the vegetable vendor, who is also the organizer, thought it would be a good idea to show up one last time, in case not everyone had gotten the word. Crestfallen does not even start to describe me. Fortunately, the vendor did have a decent selection of produce, including a few weird little round squashes with crook necks that I had never seen before. He didn’t know what they were called, beyond squash, but said that they were grown locally and were great when roasted. Sold!

My guy! Ooh, ooh, talking 'bout my guy! 

Do you have a farmers’ market near you? 
This year, when the sweltering heat has abated somewhat and sitting outdoors is no longer a health hazard, the farmers’ market will resume operations on 10 October at a different location in Zabeel Park and this time I’m going to try to get there long before next May. I know I have readers from around the world. I’m curious. When do your farmers’ markets open and close, if they aren’t year round?

Sunday Supper celebrates Squash Fest
This week our Sunday Supper group is celebrating squash with sweet and savory dishes, designed to show off our, and I hope some of your, favorites in the Cucurbita family. Many thanks to Alice of A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen and Christy of Confessions of a Culinary Diva for co-hosting this great theme.

4 links fresh Italian sausage (My four weighed about 7 3/4 oz or 275g)
1 red Kuri squash (My guy weighed about 440g or almost 1 lb)
2 slices stale bread (about 1 3/4 - 2 oz or 50-55g)
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
Handful flatleaf or Italian parsley
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (depending on your tolerance/love of spiciness)
Olive oil
Salt, to taste

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and use a little olive oil to grease a small pan that will just fit the two halves of your squash side by side.

Make crumbs out of your stale bread in the food processor and divide them into two bowls, the smaller one with just a few heaping tablespoons full for topping, the balance in the larger bowl. Pour the milk over the crumbs in the larger bowl and leave to soak.

Mince your garlic and parsley and remove the sausage meat from the casing.

Meanwhile, cut your squash in half and remove the fibers and seeds. Slice just a tiny bit off of the bottom so the squash halves sit flat and place them in the oiled pan.

Drain your breadcrumbs in a small sieve and press down lightly with your hands or the back of a spoon to get most of the milk out.

In a large mixing bowl, put the sausage meat, drained bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and crushed red pepper in with the egg and mix well.

My locally made Italian sausage is plenty salty so I don’t add more salt to this mixture. If yours is not, or if you are not sure, I encourage you to cook just a teaspoon of the mixture in a small frying pan to check. Add a little salt to the mixture, if necessary.

Stuff your mixture loosely in the squash halves.

Top with the reserved breadcrumbs and drizzle liberally with some olive oil.

Roast in your preheated oven for about 45-60 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the squash and it is cooked through. If it’s getting too brown, you can cover it with foil and continue roasting until done. And, in case you are wondering, the peel is completely edible. In fact, it's my favorite part!


Are you a fan of squash dishes? We've got everything you need for a festival of squash today!

Starters – Appetizers & Cocktails:
Pickles & Relish:
Soups & Salads:
Main Dishes
Side Dishes:
Sweets to Start or End the Day:
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