Ground Pork-Kale Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash... to be truthful is not my favorite winter squash, but this recipe has given me a whole new perspective! The delicious Mexican-inspired filling pairs perfectly with the tender, sweet squash. My husband (who has not been a fan of acorn squash in the past) loved it. The boys
were split, the 7 year old loved the filling, but wasn't crazy about the squash, the 5 year old wasn't in the mood for dinner at all, so I will have to make it again and see what he thinks.

I made this as a make-ahead-meal on a Sunday. We had a soccer game at 4pm, so I roasted the squash, cooked the filling and assembled the stuffed squash in the morning. When we returned home, I topped it with the cheese and heated it in a 350 degree oven for 20 mins, made a quick salad, and dinner was served! You could even make this up to a couple days ahead of time.

Ground Pork-Kale Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash (Printable version)

2 medium acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
1 pound ground pork (I used local, pasture raised)
1 small onion, diced
6 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper, minced
1 cup kale, chopped
1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
cooking spray
sour cream and avocado for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, place acorn squash on baking sheet and roast for 30 mins until cooked through and tender when pierced with a fork. Then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees (or turn off if make-ahead meal).
2. While squash is roasting, spray large skillet with cooking spray and brown ground pork over medium-high heat  (about 5-6 minutes).
3. Once pork is browned, add onion, tomatoes, garlic, hot pepper, and kale. Continue to cook 7-10 minutes until onion is soft and tomatoes have released their juices -- the mixture will be fragrant and smell delicious!
4. Add taco seasoning, paprika, cumin and salt. Stir well and cook another 3 minutes until spices are well incorporated. Remove from heat.
5. Once squash is roasted, remove from oven, stuff each squash with 1/3 cup of pork filling. (If making ahead, you can now cover with tin foil and place in refrigerator until ready to reheat). If eating immediately, top each squash with 1/8 cup cheddar cheese and return to 350 degree oven until cheese is melted -- about 5 minutes. If reheating from fridge, heat for 20 mins.
6. Once cheese is melted, remove from oven, top with sour cream and avocado. Enjoy!

Inspired by Spicy Ground Pork Stuffed Acorn Squash by LaaLoosh

I love cooking up a recipe which uses so much of the beautiful produce from my CSA. The acorn squash, onion, kale, and avocado all came in my box this week. The hot pepper came during the summer and I froze them whole for use during the winter. Simply defrost for a few minutes at room temperature and chop as desired. I purchased the ground pork from a local farm, so the entire meal was organic and/or local, except the Roma tomatoes!

On a side note, I had about a 1/2 cup filling left over. Perfect for making some lunchtime quesadillas this week!

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