So, Thanksgiving has come and gone, the solstice has passed promising a few more minutes of light each day (although I hate that it is still getting darker in the morning), and we are in the depths of winter with its root vegetables and comfort foods and yet you have not seen any posts for the challenge here at 40 shades of green. Part of the challenge of the Dark Days is that it takes so much more planning to eat locally. Maybe it was the canning and freezing of the summer (which seemed to pass me by here this year although I still have some jars from past years on the shelves...) or maybe it is that farmer's markets become fewer and further between. And those that do run year round seem to lose a couple of farmers each week as they take their winter vacations and plan for the spring. I can always count on the Dupont Circle Market to provide fresh local produce year round but the beginning of December was full of races and other plans that kept me from the market. I finally made it for a few necessities and with the holidays (Christmas and New Years falling on market days... well, it has been a challenge in deed. But as someone who is in the habit of eating as fresh and as local as I can, with a little ingenuity, surely I can come up with a locally sourced meal.
I have had an acorn squash rolling around my counter for the past couple of months. I bought it before the fall markets closed at the West End Farmers Market here in ALexandria. For some reason, I always put off cooking acorn squash. Let's see what else does the crisper hold? There is some celeriac that I picked up from my favorite organic grower a couple of weeks ago and didn't use in the root vegetable stew and some barley from Next Step Produce and some ground buffalo from Cibola Farms...there are always carrots, garlic and onions from Twin Springs...oh and when I ordered the local box from Arganica there were some tomatoes that must be local (and actually need to be used soon) not to mention some sun dried tomatoes that I had picked up on a whim this summer at the corner stand at Dupont. Oh, and there is always cheese from my cheese CSA with Keswick Creamery Maybe there is a meal here after all.
Buffalo and Barley stuffed Acorn Squash
- 4 medium uncooked acorn squash
- I medium onion, large dice
- 1 small celeriac root, large dice
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 2-3 carrots, diced
- 1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 oz sun-dried tomatoes (without oil), diced
- 1 pound(s) uncooked ground buffalo chuck
- 3 oz grated cheese [I used Keswick Creamery Wallaby]
- 1 cup cooked barley
- Preheat Oven to 400*. Cut squash in half and cook in 1" of water, cut side down for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile saute the onion and garlic in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add celeriac and carrots and continue to cook over medium-low heat for another 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes (fresh and dried) and cook until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and mix with 1 cup of cooked barley.
- Brown the buffalo (or beef if you are using) and mix with the vegetable grain mixture.
- Turn acorn squash cut side up and stuff with half a cup of the stuffing mixture. Top with grated cheese and cook until cheese is melted and squash is cooked through.
How is that for an all local entree without a plan. I prepared this a little differently than listed above (making the stuffing ahead of time and then placing the stuffing in uncooked squash) but found it a little dry and so am recommending that you precook the squash a bit to avoid this problem but it was still very good. I will try out this method with the remaining stuffing (I only had one squash on hand and now have a ton of left over stuffing) and edit if need be but I think it should work just fine.