Monday, October 16, 2017

Sage Sunflower Seed Knoedel Stuffed Red Squash

I used to be intimidated by stuffing and baking whole pumpkins or squash. I over worried about so many things. Would everything cook evenly? Would the skin be too tough to eat? 

I now sound ridiculous to myself after making this recipe. It was so easy and too much less work than I thought it would be. 

However, beware the knoedel does have to sit for an hour after mixing it. I cheated and saved a step. The cheat is instead of reducing day-old bread into crumbs, I used bread crumbs right out of the can. So sue me. 

Just to clarify, this squash is stuffed with a sage semmelknödel which is made from bread, not kartoffelknödel which is made from potato. 

After searching high and low for red kabocha, I ended up using Red Kuri variety of squash for this dish. The squash has a chestnut-likee flavor. If you want a sweeter result, use red kabocha or even small pie pumpkins.

Originally I wrote this recipe to include bacon in the knoedel but decided to go with a vegetarian version. If you are a bacon fan, feel free to add four cooked bacon strips (chopped up) to the onions at the frying step. I also was going to make a cream sauce to pour over it, but I think that's overkill.

If you don't fancy or don't have any sage on hand, use whatever fresh herb or combination of herbs you like in the knoedel. I liked the combination of the sage and the sunflower seeds added depth and crunch to the knoedel. 

The tender squash and dense flavorful knoedel together make a delicious addition to any fall table. 

Sage Knoedel Stuffed Red Squash
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Bake time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 8
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large red onions 
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds, plus a sprinkling for garnish
  • 4 cups breadcrumbs
  • 2+1/2 cup milk
  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 small squash such as Red Hokkaido, Red Kabocha or small, sweet pie pumpkins
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups vegetable broth

Make the sage knoedel:

  • Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  • Peel the onions and cut into small pieces.
  • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions to the pan and sauté until the onions soften. 
  • Add the sage and the sunflower seeds to the pan and stir to combine. Cook stirring for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. 
  • Warm the milk slightly and add it to the breadcrumbs along with the eggs and the onion, sage sunflower seed mixture.
  • Knead the mixture together. 
  • Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Cover the bowl and let it stand room temperature for 1 hour.

Bake the squash:
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the tops off of the squash and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Discard or reserve the scooped out flesh and seeds for future use. 
  • Cut a small slice off the bottom of the squash to help it sit evenly.
  • Grease a large casserole dish.
  • Place the squash shells in the dish and stuff with the sage knoedel. Replace the lids. 
  • Pour a cup of vegetable broth to the casserole dish. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
Make the sauce:
  • In the same pan, melt the butter. Add the vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon of chopped sage.
  • Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  • Remove the Hokkaido from the oven. Remove the lids, cut the stuffed squash into quarters and transfer to a serving platter. Pour the sauce over the tops, garnish and serve.

Like Knödel? Try these recipes:

Lemon Roast Chicken Over a Bed of Marjoram Semmelknödel / Ramp Schallot Knödel

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