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Published November 04, 2009, 12:00 AM

SQUASH RECIPES: Stuffed Squash with Mushrooms, Tofu and Pecans . . . Stuffed Acorn Squash

By: Herald Wire Reports,

Stuffed Squash with Mushrooms, Tofu and Pecans

4 small winter squash, such as acorn, halved, seeded

1 14-ounce cake firm tofu, pressed, cut into small cubes

3 tablespoons each: tamari soy sauce, dry sherry

4 cups small bread cubes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 each, chopped: onions, celery ribs

1 16-ounce package sliced mushrooms

½ cup vegetable broth or water

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped (see note)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with aluminum foil; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Place the squash halves, cut side down, in the pan; add about ½ inch of water to the pan. Bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the tofu cubes with soy sauce and sherry in a medium bowl; set aside. Cook the bread cubes on a baking sheet until toasted, about 5 minutes.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, broth and thyme. Heat to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover; cook until flavors come together, about 10 minutes. Uncover; stir in the tofu with marinade and bread cubes. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the pecans and lemon juice.

Distribute the filling among the baked squash halves. Put halves in a deep casserole dish; cover. Cook until squash is fork-tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the squash.

Note: Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until aromatic, 3 to 5 minutes.

Yield: Serves 8.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 382 calories, 42 percent from fat, 19 grams fat (2 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 44 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams protein, 592 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1/3 cup bulgur

2/3 cup water

2 small- to medium-sized acorn squash

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup chopped onion

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 Jonathan or other tart, red apple, cored and chopped

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup orange juice

Combine bulgur and water in a small, covered saucepan; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to stand, covered, about 10 minutes.

Pierce squash with a sharp knife. Place squash in a glass 9-by-13-inch dish. Microwave on high, 2 minutes. Allow to stand 3 minutes. (This makes it easier to cut the whole squash.) Slice off stem, then cut each squash in half, cutting through stem end. With a teaspoon, scoop out seeds. Place cut side down in glass dish. Add 2 tablespoons water. Cover and microwave on high 8 to 9 minutes or until squash are tender. Set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is transparent. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until vegetables are tender. Stir in chopped walnuts and cook until nuts are toasted. Stir in apple, cranberries, herbs and juice. Heat to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in bulgur.

With a teaspoon, carefully scoop out ¼ cup of pulp from each of the four squash halves, leaving a shell of squash. Chop the removed pulp, then stir it into the bulgur mixture. Spoon bulgur mixture into each squash shell, mounding if necessary. Cover casserole dish and microwave on high 3 to 5 minutes. (Or cover casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes; uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes.)

Yield: Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 299 calories (30 percent from fat), 11 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 16 milligrams cholesterol, 50 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 22 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.