I am writing this from Key West, FL ….. a quirky island where I lived for most of my early 20's. This trip is half vacation, half soul-feeding, with some much needed R+R and vitamin D intake for Michael and I. After the year that we have had, it feels great to have these few days to ourselves and to see a lot of my old friends who are still here living the good, happy, easy life. I needed this big time, and my heart is full and so happy.
Before I left, I had thanksgiving on my mind and once I am back and recharged I am going to be finalizing my menu. I haven't cooked thanksgiving for the past few years and I am very excited to be cooking once again this year. There will be a turkey, a specially ordered one from a farm not too far away, for the traditionalist at our thanksgiving table….and for the ones that may not want turkey or may want to try something a little different, there will be this stuffed delicata.
Each season I get obsessive about one vegetable, and this season I have been smitten with delicate squash. It's hands down my favorite vegetable this Fall. Delicata is a sweet, tasty squash with a thin, edible skin. The skin gets super soft when it is roasted so it adds a slight crunch / texture contrast, and a nice little nutrient boost. I have been making it so many different ways since it is one of the more manageable squashes to prepare. Just simply roasted with olive oil salt and pepper, or this filling version that is more of a main dish, stuffed with all sorts of goodness.
In the next few days, I will be sharing my finalized thanksgiving menu with you here … and I would love to hear what you are thinking of making too.
But for now …. I'm headed out to walk around and soak up some rays and happy island vibes from this funky little island that still feels a little bit like home to me.
roasted delicata squash stuffed with a millet + leek + pine nut saute + white bean cream
MAKES 10 stuffed squashes
5 delicata squashes, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
salt + pepper
herbs de provence (or dried thyme)
for the millet:
1/2 cup of millet
1 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 small / medium leeks, diced
1/3 cup of pine nuts
a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
a couple of dashes of brags's aminos (or tamari)
for the white bean cream:
1 can of organic white beans, drained
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast (if you don't have any, then you can leave this out)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
several tablespoons of water
Roast the squash:
- Pre-heat the oven to 425º.
- Place the prepared squash onto a baking sheet and generously drizzle with olive oil and season with salt + pepper + the herbs.
- Roast for about 30 minutes until the squash is soft and the edges are nice and brown.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the millet sauté and make the white bean cream:
- First, make the white bean cream by placing all of the ingredients except for the water into a food processor. Then, add the water tablespoon by tablespoon until you have the consistency you like. You want to add just enough so that it is runny, but be sure to taste along the way because you don't want to water it down. 3-4 tablespoons should do. Adjust any seasoning as necessary and set aside until you're ready to serve.
- Place the millet, water and salt in a medium saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to sit, covered, for another 10 minutes.
- While the millet is cooking, toast the pine nuts and cook the leeks. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the dry skillet over medium-low heat and lightly toast the pine nuts until they are light brown. Remove and set aside.
- In the same skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the leeks until they are soft. If your millet is still cooking, remove the leeks from the heat but keep them in the pan. You are going to add the millet once it is done cooking.
- Turn the heat to medium-low, and add the millet to the skillet with the leeks and add back the pine nuts. Add another couple tablespoons of olive oil (you want the millet to be moist). Also add the white wine vinegar, brags, and pepper. Taste and add or adjust any seasoning as necessary.
Stuff the squashes and serve:
- Spoon the millet mixture into the roasted squash, and finish with a healthy drizzle of the white bean cream. Serve warm, immediately.