Saturday, December 18, 2010

Squash and Leek Stuffing

I haven't been much in the holiday spirit here, aside from enjoying the brisk December weather. I've been too preoccupied by more big life changes over the past month to be able to pay attention to Thanksgiving or Christmas. I failed in my goal to host Thanksgiving (as happens almost every year) and only contributed one side dish for my mother's Thanksgiving meal (this squash and bean casserole). I haven't procured any Christmas gifts yet (hopefully tomorrow...). There are no holiday decorations up in my apartment, since I should be packing up anyway for another move at the turn of the month. I've even been neglecting this blog, seeing now that it's been a month since I last wrote!

But last week I made a squash and leek stuffing, presented in a hollowed-out squash, which felt ever so seasonally appropriate. I was inspired by a stuffed pumpkin my roommate made this fall, as well as a delicious looking pumpkin with panade on Tea & Cookies. However, I've found that when you bake it all together, the squash remains too firm for my liking. To solve this, I roasted my squash first, and then scooped out the pureed flesh to mix into a stuffing with cubes of crusty bread, sauteed leeks, and cheese, and refilled the squash rinds for a final bake.

I'm taking several days off for the holidays and hoping I'll have time then to get excited about festive baking and cooking, including pumpkin snickerdoodles and almond biscotti. Now the question remains, should I make this stuffed squash, or maybe pizza with a side of swiss chard gratin, for my family's Christmas eve dinner?

Squash and Leek Stuffing

I used one delicata squash, but you could also use any other variety of squash or pumpkin. Slice squash in half, and place it in a pan, flesh side down with a few inches of water. Roast at 450 degrees for 30-60 minutes until easily mashable with a fork. Scoop out all the flesh out into a bowl, being careful not to tear the squash rind (unlike me).

While the squash is roasting, clean one large leek and slice into half moons. Sautee on low heat until softened.

Rip a day-old crusty baguette into small cubes.

Grate about a cup of cheese. Cheddar, gruyere, swiss, or any combination of these varieties would be nice.

Combine squash, leek, bread, and cheese in a bowl, with salt and pepper to taste. Fill empty squash rinds with stuffing and sprinkle additional grated cheese over the top. Return to the oven and bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes until the cheese and stuffing edges turn golden brown.

Makes two servings.