Stuffed Squash & Rulo Wines
A confirmed meat and potatoes guy, I have been working to deepen my appreciation for vegetables in general and vegetarian meals in particular. Meatless Monday is an opportunity to give a new vegetarian meal a try, always with an eye to what wine will match the meal. As a member of “Fortify!” a group of Minnesota food bloggers, I have ready access to a constant stream of ideas from very creative chefs. My thanks to Amanda Paa and her Healthy Life, Happy Cook blog for a winning recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cilantro Cream Sauce. I adapted the recipe only slightly to accommodate what was in our kitchen.
The squash turned out great! This is a very nice, flavorful meal that even a confirmed meat eater will enjoy. Julie votes yes as well!
After a recent trip to Walla Walla, WA we had some new Rulo wines to sample. Rulo wines are usually very food friendly, offering good acidity and very little oak influence. I paired this meal with a Rulo’s Grenache Blanc. A nice dry, crisp, yet rich mouthfeel complemented the savory but not overly spicy stuffed squash. The nose exhibits more mineral notes than fruit but it’s so nice and fresh. Grenache Blanc is a new varietal for me, and I have been enjoying it as an alternative to Chardonnay as a richer white for cool weather. The Grenache Blanc worked well. Had the filling been spiced more aggressively, we might have wanted something with a bit of sweetness.
The Cabernet Sauvignon wasn’t opened for this meal. I had opened it a day before for another reason, and I decided to give it a try. Sometimes a wine that doesn’t pair well is as instructional as one that does. On day one the Rulo Cab was quite tannic and it would have clashed with the squash. By day two, the tannins had subsided somewhat and the wine had taken on a more soft texture. With the first bite of the squash, the wine seemed overly peppery, but not so much after another couple of bites. On the whole, not a match made in heaven, but it was pretty nice.
Making the Dinner
You’ll start by mixing up a spice mix to use as a rub for the squash and seasoning for the filling.
I had been looking for a good spice mill, and all I could find were the fancy pepper mills to go on the table. Since I just really wanted a tool and not a work of art, I looked on Amazon and found this Kyocera spice mill. So far, I’ve been really happy with its performance and ease of cleanup, hopefully it’ll last a long time. Less than $20 on Amazon, not bad. Freshly ground spices are so aromatic!
While the squash roasts, you’ll have time to prep the other ingredients and to go for a nice pre-dinner walk.
Stuffed Squash with Cilantro Cream Sauce (adapted from recipe at Healthy Life, Happy Cook) serves 4
- 1 1/2 tsp each of freshly ground cumin, paprika, kosher salt
- Split and core 2 acorn squash
- Coat the open squash face with a bit of sunflower oil
- Sprinkle approximately half the seasoning mix
- Roast in a 400° F oven for about 1 hour
- 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped (about 4 small ones)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, seeds removed. If you like a spicier stuffing, go for 2 jalapeno peppers!
In a medium temperature skillet, saute the onion and garlic in the sunflower oil for a few minutes, until translucent. Add the beans scallions tomatoes, the remainder of the spices, and the jalapeno peppers. Cook the mixture for 10-15 minutes, until well heated through and flavors mix.
- 1 cup non-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
Blend ingredients together, reserving a bit of cilantro for garnish.
Remove the squash from the oven, set on plate, load with the stuffing and top with the cilantro cream. Garnish with a bit of fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
As previously mentioned, I’d be really interested in hearing any thoughts on a vegetarian main dish that really needs a hearty Cab or Syrah as a wine partner. If you have any suggestions, please comment!