Sunday, November 14, 2010

Couscous stuffed Pumpkin

Ok, I know that's not a pumpkin, it's a delicata squash. But hey, I'm only one person here, so I don't need to make a whole giant filled butternut (oh wait, that's also a squash) for myself. So, the easy solution: Make four servings, using two smallish delicatas, and then keep them in the fridge. It should have lasted longer than two days, but I think we all know that I'm totally hooked on eating dinner foods for breakfast... oh, and for lunch. And even for dinner, sometimes.

This recipe is super-easy, and simply requires the patience to let your vegetables roast. That's the hardest part by far. Comparitively easy is cutting your delicata in half, scooping out the seeds, and chopping a few vegetables. It's a cinch, I promise, and you end up with a dish that looks like a lot more work than it actually was. I put roasted pumpkin into my couscous mix, simply because I had a muskatcurbis that I wanted to roast. The flesh is a brilliant orange and it has fantastic flavour, so I recommend them. However, if you're going to use a butternut, it's easiest to cut some flesh out from the centre of the pumpkin, so that you have more space to stuff with couscous. Then you've got the extra to roast, and your butternut won't need so long in the oven. It makes the whole 'patience' part a little easier, too!

Usually I like to sautee my zucchini, but it's just as easy to throw it with some oil and leave it in the oven for a while. I added some tomato a little later (it needs less time than the zucchini) and it worked a treat. If you like your zucchini to be more browned, just add more olive oil. I was probably a little too light on the oil, in fact. That's what I get for trying to be healthy: poorly-coloured zucchini cubes. Somehow, I'm not too affected by such tragedies. ;)

I eat a lot of olive oil already, because I try to steer away from hydrogenated fats. Also, it's one of the more natural oils, because it can be pressed; I don't like the idea of solvents being used to produce something that I'm going to eat. I know that I do get lazy, and eat processed foods (give me bread!) but I'd like to think that overall, I'm healthy. Sure, I like occasional sweet treats, but not after every meal. I'd much rather dip a piece of crusty bread into a bowl of olive oil, sprinkled with salt... don't get me started on how much I love salt! But before I get too many ideas about my next snack, I'd better write out this recipe.

Couscous Stuffed Pumpkin
1 butternut or 2 delicata squash, halved lenthwise and seeded
olive oil
1/2 cup instant couscous
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup vege stock (boiling hot please)
1 large / 2 small zucchini
3 cloves garlic
2 large tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper

Roast your squash - if you're using the butternut, hollow it out as I mentioned above, and roast the extra flesh in some olive oil. For a nice colour, rub the insides of the squash with olive oil. A sprinkling of salt won't go astray, either! My delicata took 20 mins at 220 degrees, but butternut will take somewhat longer.
Meanwhile, chop your zucchini and toss in oil with garlic cloves. Roast for 10 mins before throwing in your chopped tomato, which will take another 10-15.
Add the boiling stock to the couscous in a large bowl. Stir so that the couscous is thoroughly soaked, and leave to sit for 10 minutes to absorb. Test for texture - if the couscous is still hard in the centre, add another 1/4 cup boiling water. How much you need will depend on how coarse your couscous is, so keep that in mind.
When your vegetables are cooked, take them out of the oven. Peel and finely chop the garlic, then mix them through the couscous. Season with your spices and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Add the parsley at the last second so that it doesn't blacken, and fill the roasted pumpkin shells with the couscous. Eat!

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