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Quinoa Stuffed Magda Squash

From Stones River Market

<p>Looking for new recipes involving local products, I found this one. It can be made vegetarian by excluding the meat and adding quinoa.</p> <p>There is a stuffing recipe and a sauce recipe included in this</p>
Source: (Entered by John Erdmann)
Serves: Serves 2-4

Stuffing Recipe
1/4 lb ground beef
1/4 cup quinoa
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sweet pepper, ground
1/4 tsp allspice berries, ground
1/2 tsp salt
8 Magda (Cousa) squash
Sauce Recipe
3 cups water
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped
2 TBSP olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sweet pepper, ground
1/4 tsp allspice berries, ground
1 tomato, diced

Step by Step Instructions
  1. Magda Squash (Cousa) is typically stuffed with a mixture of rice, ground beef and tomatoes plus some aromatics and spices. I really like Quinoa and I think it works really well here as a replacement for the rice. I just have to make some adjustment in the cooking process due to the quick cooking quinoa. I first wash the squash, core it and drop it in salted boiling water for 5 minutes to speed up its cooking time. Remove it to a strainer and let cool. Save the water for later use. Save the flesh for later use in soups, etc.
  2. Meanwhile, I assemble the stuffing by soaking the quinoa in a cup of water while I prepare the beef and tomatoes. I dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl. I dice half an onion and place in a pot with some olive oil, add the ground beef and the spices, sautee until onions soften and the meat loses its red color. Then I remove it and place over the tomatoes. Add the strained quinoa and mix well.
  3. Stuffing the squash is fun, I get to play with the food a little. Use your finger to push the stuffing down and really pack it. For the sauce, I chop a tomato and some sage. Sautee with some olive oil in the same pot as before to really use all the remaining flavors. Once the tomatoes are soft, I add some of the water that I used earlier for the squash, the tomato paste, and all the spices, let simmer gently for a few minutes, taste and adjust seasoning if needed, and finally I add all the squash. Be careful to not drop the squash from a high point. With the help of tongs, it will be easier to place, splash free. Then I simmer for 20 minutes covered. And Voila! It's done.