I love these little guys. You know, those cute little mini pumpkins popping up all over the place this time of year. They are almost too cute NOT to make into adorable edible vessels to stuff with all sorts of deliciousness, like this sausage and cauliflower “rice” goodness. Garlicky Chorizo adds earthy heat (not too spicy, just enough to keep things interesting) to a perfect base of onion and red bell pepper all married together with cauliflower rice. Yes, cauliflower rice, which is a wonderful thing…
Seriously, you take a head of cauliflower and pulse it up (in batches) in a food processor until you are left with “rice”. Obviously, this is a vegetable, not a grain, so it will not taste exactly like rice, but it makes up for that with a relatively bland (not unlike rice) flavor that works well with just about anything, and a super short cooking time! Do I have to even mention the obvious lack of bad for you refined carbs?
All good stuff.
Take a look at these cuties! I used a very commonly found Acorn squash and a charmingly speckled Carnival squash….good name for it, right?
In order to make it easy to cut through them, I gave each of them a little poke with a knife to let off steam and put them into the microwave for four minutes (together), then gave them a little time to cool. This gives me a little help by softening them up a bit so when I cut them, I am less likely to lose a digit. Or an eyeball. Or my patience, most likely. Cutting any sort of gourd can be a lot like trying to saw through a football.
Once you have that done go ahead and scoop out the seeds, and pop them cut side down (brush those sides that are hitting the pan with a little olive oil) on a rimmed baking sheet that you’ve lined with foil. I am always thinking clean-up, ya know? Roast them in a 350° oven for 40 minutes. They should feel tender when pierced with a fork.
While that’s happening, chop a small onion (or half a big one, whatever) and half of a red bell pepper into a nice small dice. Get some olive oil into a fairly large pan and get the veggies in there and push them around on a medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. They will start getting nice and soft and translucent.
Then add your Chorizo sausage. I only used about a third of this 1 pound package. You can use any sort of sausage that you like. Sweet Italian sausage would be perfect! Sage sausage would be excellent as well. I like Chorizo because it has a pretty strong smoky garlicky nuance that brings a whole lot of flavor bang for the buck. You can use the dried cured, salami like Chorizo as well. Just cut it into cubes and pop it in, it won’t take but a few minutes to brown up.
Get that all beautifully cooked down, looking something like this…..
then add your spices and cauliflower “rice”. Give this a stir and then add some chicken broth action….just about a cup. Wait for the cauliflower to cook in the broth and for the liquid to evaporate a bit. Try not to eat it straight out of the pan.
Like I did.
You still have cutie little squash halves to fill, and since everything is basically cooked….
just go ahead and mound that filling into your roasted squash bowls that you now have placed in a shallow baking dish. Give em a sprinkle of feta……or parmesan? or asiago? or grated cheddar? whatever you have on hand, really…..and under the broiler they go. 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them to avoid scorched squash!
Take a peak in your fridge and see what you may have that is green (not as in mold-green, although if you are anything like me you may have come across some of that too! Yikes!)…. parsley? cilantro? chives? I happened to have had some green onions so I gave them a fine chop and scattered them over the top.
A little green fresh somthin-somthin is always a nice touch.
Cute enough to eat!
- 2 Acorn or Carnival squash, halved and seeded
- 3 oz (or more if you like) chorizo* or sausage of your choice
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced **
- 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cored, and pulsed in batches in a food processor until it resembles rice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne***
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese*****
- olive oil
- kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley, green onions, or both (totally optional)****
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Brush the cut ends of the squash with oil and season with salt and pepper
- Place squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 - 50 minutes. It should feel tender when pierced with a knife.
- Meanwhile add a few glugs of olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and bell pepper, stirring until the veggies are softened, about 5 - 7 minutes.
- Add the chorizo and continue stirring and breaking up the sausage until it is cooked. This will take about three minutes for fully cooked cured sausage and 5 - 7 minutes for uncooked sausage.
- Add the paprika, cayenne and stir this around the pan for about a minute.
- Add the cauliflower "rice" to combine. Add the chicken stock, bring to a bubble, and then reduce the heat. Let this cook until the cauliflower is tender, and most of the chicken stock has cooked off, about 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
- Transfer the roasted squash halves to a baking dish cut side up. Turn your oven to BROIL. Scoop the filling into the halves, mounding in center. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Broil until browed on the tops, about 8 - 10 minutes. Keep an eye on these!
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with green onions...(or whatever you like, parsley, cilantro....)
- Serves 4
- * If your Chorizo is uncooked and in the sausage casing, remove the casing before cooking. If it's the dried cured kind (like salami) then thinly slice it up
- ** I used half because mine was really big, go ahead and use it all if you'd like
- ***more if you like it on the spicier side. Just taste as you go, you can always add it
- ****something green on the plate is always an easy finishing touch!
- *****Use parmesan if you prefer! Or asiago! Pepper jack, anyone? You get the idea.