This request came from Jennifer T. at Garden of Eden Organics (my CSA).
Stephanie, can you come up with some recipes to use persimmons? We are going to have a ton of them!
Persimmons are a firm-fleshed orange fruit that’s usually used for baking (see my Persimmon-Date bread recipe here). I loved the idea of taking these in a savory direction, using them as part of the filling for an acorn squash stuffing. This could also be used to stuff butternut squash. If you can’t find persimmons, apples or pears would be a nice alternative.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Persimmons
Makes 4 main course servings or 8 side servings (double or triple the recipe if needed)
1 acorn squash
½ C. (90 g) red quinoa
2 small persimmons (about 3/4 C. [100 g] chopped)
1/2 C. (65 g) Swiss chard
1/4 C. (30 g) pine nuts
1/2 C. (50 g) Daiya dairy-free cheese or parmesan
3 sage leaves (1/2 t. [1 g] dried sage)
1/2 t. (1 g) sea salt
1/4 t. (0.5 g) chipotle chili powder
1/4 t. (0.5 g) cumin
1/4 t. (0.5 g) white pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F/160C/gas mark 4. Wash the squash, then slice off each end. Cut in half. (It’s a little easier to cut them in half lengthwise, but the finished dish looks more like an acorn if you cut it crosswise as pictured.) Scoop out the seeds using a grapefruit spoon. Put the seeds in a small bowl of water.
Place the squash cut-side down in an oiled baking pan. Bake 30-40 minutes or until soft. Leave the oven on.
While it is baking, remove all the stringy bits of the squash from the seeds and rinse them clean. Place in a small saucepan with a cup of filtered water and 2-3 t. of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.
Rinse and drain the quinoa, then add 1 C. (250 ml) water or vegetable broth (add 1/2 t. (5 g) miso if using water). Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 15 minutes on low. Turn off and let sit, then fluff with a fork.
Chop the chard and place in a large bowl. Core the persimmons and chop into a 1/2” dice. Add to the bowl. Mince the sage leaves. Add the pine nuts, cooked quinoa, cheese, spices, and stir to mix.
When the squash is cooked, put the baking pan on your work counter (on a towel or hot pads) and flip the squash right-side up. Using a fork to hold it steady, scoop out the cooked squash with a grapefruit spoon, adding it to your filling bowl. Be careful not to poke through the skin. Leave about 1/2 inch of flesh inside.
Mix the squash evenly into the filling, then taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Pack it into a rounded 1 cup measure and invert it into the squash halves. You will have nearly two cups of filling per half. Put the squash seeds in one corner of the pan, adding a small amount of olive oil and some smoked paprika. Stir to coat the seeds.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted. Top with the toasted seeds and a drizzle of garlic olive oil. Cut each half in half to serve four as a main dish, or in eighths as a side.