When it’s chilly outside, sometimes I think eating foods with warm colors will warm me up inside. Maybe that sounds crazy, but the comforting orange golds of acorn squash flesh just make me feel like there’s a crackling fireplace in the corner — even though I know there isn’t! You eat with your eyes, so let your eyes tell you how warm and toasty you are while digging into this delectable baked squash stuffed with ground lamb and feta cheese. Perfumed with aromatic spices, let your imagination take you away to exotic places across the globe.
Acorn Squash with Ground Lamb and Feta Recipe
2 acorn squash, rinsed, dried and cut in half from stem end with very sharp knife, seeds removed
1 lb ground lamb
1/3 cup dried currants
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp Zaatar
Note: Zaatar is a Middle Eastern condiment prepared with hyssop, a dried herb, that is mixed with sesame seeds, salt and sumac.
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp allspice
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves, minced
Heat oven to 350°F.
Place squash in shallow baking pan, cut side down. Bake for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, brown lamb in large skillet. Add dried currants and spices, tossing to incorporate. Pour in tomato juice and simmer uncovered for 5 – 10 minutes until sauce is thickened slightly. Add feta cheese and parsley and stir well to incorporate.
Spoon lamb mixture into squash and return to oven. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, or until squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
“Acorn squash can be filled with any tasty goodies,” says wine and cocktail expert Stephanie Davis. She recently tested a vegan version stuffed with wild rice, spiced garbanzo beans and roasted tomatoes. Pretty much, the options are endless. So, too, are your drink options, she believes. That’s why Steph paired this recipe with a drink reminiscent of exotic places, utilizing a sharbat as the focal point. A sherbat is akin to a Middle Eastern simple syrup. The name “sherbat” comes from the Arabic word for drink, sharab.
The Wall Street Journal featured a Rose Water and Turmeric Sharbat mocktail — a non-alcoholic cocktail — which Steph prepared for her father and friends, to rave reviews.
Rose Water and Turmeric Sharbat Mocktail
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp powdered turmeric
1 T rose water
Boil 3 cups water. Reduce temperature to medium and stir in sugar and salt. Whisk to dissolve sugar and cook mixture gently for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add turmeric and rose water. Simmer for 20 minutes and cool.
To serve: pour 1/4 cup sharbat over ice and top with sparkling water. Garnish with edible flowers.
The Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2017.
Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @EmFeedsYou . Life inspired. Vodka tempered.
Interested in reading Emily’s new award-winning novel, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage? Find it on Amazon and in Indie bookstores.
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Award-winning Chick Lit author Emily Kemme writes about the quirks of human nature. Find musings, recipes, and satire on her blog, Feeding the Famished. Novels | Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage | In Search of Sushi Tora | Other works in progress