Squash is in SEASON!!!

I have always loved squash, as much as my sister hates it, so when it’s in season we tend to use it frequently. Stuffed squash is a great option for aqorn squash because you have your whole meal in one dish.

This recipe makes enough filling for 3-4 squash, I only make two (1/2 squash for each of us) and I bake the additional filling for leftovers. I start with cooking the barley and roasting the squash halves (seeds removed) with the cut side down until they are fork tender.

While they roast, I prepare the filling. 

We prefer a bit of spice, so I use a seeded poblano pepper, but you could substitute with a green bell pepper for a milder flavor.

The chopped sage lends another element of fall flavor.

The sweet onion I simply chop in the food processor.

Last I dice the chicken. I use The same cutting board throughout, by doing the chicken last I prevent contaminating the vegetables with the raw chicken.

Sauté the chicken, onion, and peppers together until the chicken is starting to cook.

Then add salt, pepper, the sage, and cooked barley; continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.

By this point the squash will be done, flip them over and fill them with the stuffing. Set any extra in a baking dish.


Top it all with goat cheese and bake.

Stuffed Squash With Herbed Goat Cheese

Cook Time: 20 minutes | Servings: 4 Servings | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 2 acorn squash, halved crosswise and seeded
  • 2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp sage, dried
  • Salt and pepper, optional
  • 4 Tbsp herbed goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Bring the chicken stock and barley to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until tender, about 50-60 minutes.

Scoop the seeds from each squash half and place, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet or a baking dish sprayed with olive oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is tender. Remove from oven and flip to cut side up.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, poblano pepper, and saute 3 minutes. Add sage, salt and pepper, to taste, and cooked barley and stir to coat. Cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is cooked through and mixture is well-combined.

Spoon barley mixture into each halved squash then top with goat cheese. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned.

Notes: Quick cooking barley can be substituted to save time, if using:
Heat 2 cups chicken stock in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the barley and simmer until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

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Beef and Barley Soup

Due to a grocery shopping error I have a lot of barley on hand, so I have been thinking of what to do with this abundance.

As I did my planning for this week, I opted against our usual Monday night pizza in favor of beef and barley soup so that I could avoid the mad rush for pizza on Halloween night. I looked up several recipes and couldn’t find one that I liked. Many of them looked bland, appeared to skimp on the meat, or in general didn’t look hearty.

So I picked up what looked good and set myself to making something I would enjoy. I gathered my ingredients (ignore the tomato paste I grabbed in my photo-taking haste and pretend it’s garlic).

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I started by prepping my vegetables (mainly so that I could use my favorite knife for all of my chopping). I chopped the onion with my food processor so that I didn’t have watery eyes.

And then I peeled and sliced the parsnips and carrots.

And sliced the celery.

Dried mushrooms (morel and porcini) caught my eye, but it’s important to remember that they are still dirty. I brushed them hard to remove the dirt, and then cleaned the board and chopped them to use as a coating on the beef.

I also used a mix of fresh wild mushrooms, that I rinsed well.

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Last, I trimed then cubed the beef. I prefer meat in soups to be very lean so that you don’t bite into anything tough. Once I cleaned it, I seasoned it with salt and pepper, then my chopped dried mushrooms (unfortunately forgetting to take the picture with the mushrooms).

I started with the mushrooms, mincing the garlic into them and cooking them on medium high heat until they were golden.

I set the mushrooms aside and browned the beef.

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Then I set aside the beef with the mushrooms and set to cooking my vegetables. I seasoned them with pepper and added the sprigs of thyme. I continued to cook them about 5 minutes until the onion was just tender.

Before returning the beef and mushrooms to the pan, I deglazed it with about ½ cup of the broth.

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Then I returned the beef to the pan and added in the broth, bay leaf, and finally the barley.

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I combined it all and brought it to a boil before reducing the heat and allowing it to simmer for 1½ hours.

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It was really tasty and exactly the consistency and flavor profile I was hoping to have.

Enjoy!

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Beef-Barley Soup

Prep 30 mins ∙ Cook 1 hr 30 mins ∙ Makes Yield: 6-8 servings ∙ Difficulty Easy ∙ Source Shannon Stacey

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 3 parsnips, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, mixed
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into ½” pieces
  • a few dried mushrooms, brushed very clean and finely chopped (optional)
  • 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley

DIRECTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add mushrooms and garlic, cook until golden, then set aside.

Salt and pepper the beef, then sprinkle the chopped dried mushrooms on the beef. Add beef to pan; cook until browned, stirring frequently, then set aside with the mushrooms.

Add the onion to the pan, followed by the carrot, celery, parsnips, and thyme sprigs to pan; season with pepper and cook until the onion is translucent. Add about ½ cup of broth to the pan to deglaze the bottom, then return the beef and mushrooms to the pan. Add in the remainder of the broth with the bay leaf and barley.

Bring the soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 1-1½ hours or until beef is tender and barley is cooked, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

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