Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Brown Rice and Black Eyed Peas

Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Brown Rice and Black Eyed Peas

Did you know that pumpkin is a type of squash? And here I was, thinking squash was a type of pumpkin! Kabocha: a squash by any other name would taste as sweet.

Happy New Year, friends! I made a few dishes over the holiday and decided to consolidate the leftovers. In this one pot meal, I have combined black eyed peas, rice, and veg, along with the warming spices of cinnamon, and the peppery notes in harissa, to make this a delightful winter’s dish. For the black eyed peas, I used this recipe, omitting the bacon, from Epicurious: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/new-years-day-black-eyed-peas

Ingredients

  • 1 Kabocha pumpkin-looking squash
  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil
  • S&P to taste
  • For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup brown rice, cooked in 1-1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups cooked, black eyed peas
  • 1 Tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 150 grams mushrooms of choice, roughly chopped
  • 6 spears of asparagus, 1 cm pieces
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbsp harissa (optional)
  • S&P to your taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180C, 350F.
  2. Oven at 180C, prep the squash by removing the top and scraping out the seeds. Brush the inside with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, put the lid back on and bake for about an hour on a lined baking sheet. Check it halfway through to make sure it’s not browning. You can cover it loosely in foil if it’s doing so.
  3. While the squash is baking, prep the stuffing by first putting the rice on to cook. Then, chop your onions, mushrooms, asparagus, and have the garlic ready to press.
  4. Add the oil to a medium frying pan and start by sautéing the onions for about 5 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms and asparagus, and stir this around for another 5 minutes. The garlic, thyme, fenugreek, and cinnamon should be added in the last minute of cooking, along with salt and pepper to your taste.
  5. When this mixture of veg has softened, mix it in with the cooked rice, and about 2 cups of the black eyed peas and set aside until the kabocha is cooked.
  6. After an hour has passed, remove the squash from the oven, stuff it with the rice and veg mixture, (if you’re using harissa, you can add that now) and return to the oven, lid on, for about 25 minutes to heat through.
  7. When the mixture has re-heated sufficiently, remove the squash from the oven and gently transfer it to a serving platter. Allow it to sit and set for about 10 minutes, and serve as you would a slice of cake!

This is a great way to use up some leftovers. What I have here is an outline of a recipe – you can substitute various vegetables – finely chopped carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes – would all be welcome additions or substitutions. If you want the filling to stick together more when you serve it, add in half of a mashed sweet potato to the mix. In the end this is a versatile recipe, open to your interpretation and creativity! If you have lots of leftover veg, and bigger squash, I would advise baking them covered, so they don’t dry out.  

I added a small rucola salad with pomegranate and pistachios, dressed with rice vinegar and pumpkin seed oil. The gorgeous colours of winter vegetables and a lightly tossed salad complement each other beautifully! Enjoy every bite!

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