Quinoa is one of my favorite foods. It's a Peruvian grain that can be used in anything - from soups, to casseroles, even ground up as flour. The Incas refer to it as chisaya mama - the mother of all grains. It has a nice pop to it and is incredibly filling. If I want my kids to eat something, adding Quinoa is a sure way to do it.
I also love squash. Which is good because this time of year my house is full of it. I get a fall and winter CSA that load my counters with butternut, acorn, and delicata squash. Their bright orange and yellow flesh insure you're getting loads of vitamin C during the drab winter months when your body needs it most. My kids aren't huge squash fans, but that's where the quinoa came in....
I baked up a nice juicy butternut squash that was so fresh my knife slipped through it with the greatest of ease. After scooping out the seeds to roast of later, I popped it in the oven and waited for my house to fill with that familiar scent of roasting squash. While it was cooking, I got to work on the filling. I quickly looked around my counters and fridge and settled on apples as the main ingredient. What's more fall than an apple. I have been lucky enough to still have some local apples so I thought I would dice them up and make a perfectly quaint fall meal.
Apple, Brie & Quinoa Stuffed Squash (serves 4-6)
1 medium butternut squash
1 C quinoa
1 1/2 C vegetable stock/water
2 small apples, peeled and diced
1/2 C brie
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 T olive oil
salt & pepper
Heat oven to 375. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut-side up in a baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and scoop out flesh, leaving a thick layer inside the shell still. Meanwhile, add quinoa to stock/water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 12-15 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed. While that is cooking, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and spread out evenly. Once they start to turn light golden, turn heat down to medium low and cook, stirring often, until they are a caramel color. Set aside. When quinoa is done, fluff and toss in squash that was removed from skin, apples, brie and 2 T balsamic vinegar. Fill the squash halves with quinoa mixture, pressing down gently. If there is any left over, pack it around the squash in the baking dish. Sprinkle squash halves with caramelized onions. Drizzle remaining balsamic vinegar over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to oven and cook 5 minutes, just until everything is warmed through. Serve with some crusty bread and a salad.