One of the best things about the colder months is that you can get ingredients – pantry staples, like beans, and fall/winter produce free from plastic packaging. These stuffed Holiday Squashes are a festive, seasonal addition to your holiday table.
The best thing about this dish is that you can prepare almost all of it in advance! Soak the beans 2 days before your dinner. Boil the beans and prepare the squashes and filling the day before so that all you need to do is pop them in the oven an hour before your get-together.
Two squashes will serve 4 people as a main course, or 8 people as a side.
2 Carnival squashes (about 1.5lbs each, or the size of a large grapefruit)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups* ready-to-eat chickpeas, or beans of choice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the tops off of each squash, about an inch or two from the top, and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down into a rimmed baking dish filled with 1/4 inch of just-boiled water. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes until soft.
In the meantime, prepare the filling by sautéing the onion in olive oil for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and chopped walnuts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Set aside 1/4 cup of the chickpeas and place the rest of the beans in a food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely break them up. Add this to the mushroom-onion mixture, then add the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring to combine, and pour in the water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
When the squash is ready – and cool to touch, scoop out some of the flesh and add this to the filling. Be careful not so scoop too much so as not to make a hole in the skin! Mix the squash flesh to the chickpea-mushroom mixture. Add the chopped parsley.
Stuff the squashes as full as you can, place the squash lids back on, and wrap them in foil. (If preparing in advance, refrigerate these parcels at this point)
Bake the wrapped squash at 400°F for 40 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with more fresh parsley, some pomegranate arils, and some chickpeas (the ones you set aside earlier) lightly fried in oil and tossed with paprika.
*NOTE: 2 cups of ready-to-eat beans is approximately 3/4 cups dried.