Friday, March 28, 2014

stuffed acorn squash with barley

With the reappearance of cold weather comes the reappearance of warm and hearty foods yum!

Along with my many attempts to clean out my fabric I got a wild hair to clean out my cupboards too and therefore looked up recipes to use up specific ingredients that I had, including pearled barley. I first fell in love with this ingredient when I made Roasted Butternut Squash and Barley Risotto (seen here) and it remains one of my favorite fall/winter dishes.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Barley 

2 small acorn squash
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 C pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1 onion-minced
1 fennel bulb-tops discarded, halved, cored, and chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground coriander
1 C grated parmesan cheese (reserve 1/4 for the end)
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Halve and seed the acorn squash. Brush cut sides with a tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray cut side down. Roast on the lower-middle rack until tender 45-55 minutes.

While those are roasting, start to boil 3 quarts of water in large saucepan. Stir in the barley and 1/4 tsp salt. Return to a boil, then reduce to as simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside. (sorry mine got a bit too steamy for good pictures!)

I also simultaneously toasted my pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until golden brown.

My next step of 3/4 C parmesan cheese, minced parsely, pine nuts, barley, and Tbsp butter set aside.

In the empty, dry saucepan cook onion and fennel in the remaining tsp of olive oil. Cover and cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and other seasonings until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Off the heat, add in the barley mixture set aside. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

After I removed the squash from roasting I increased the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Scoop out most of the squash flesh to stir into the barley mixture, leaving the skin and about 1/8th of inch thickness left.

Restuff them, sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake until cheese is melted 5-10 minutes. Drizzle with balsalmic vinegar and enjoy!