Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Leftover Christmas Ham, Day 5: Stuffed Squash

I've had a beautiful delicata squash sitting on my kitchen table for a little over a week now, just calling out to me. I love squash so much that it's always a struggle to decide on one dish to make. Unfortunately, my favorites are also the most time-consuming: Squash Lasagna and Squash Soup. And then there's the dishes I have yet to try, like this Pumpkin Curry Shrimp or even throwing some squash into risotto.

But most of the time, it just comes down to what's the easiest to make, which means most of the squash that I buy turns into the always-delicious Stuffed Squash. So with just enough leftover Split Pea Soup to make it a side dish, I decided the delicata would make the perfect accompaniment.

Since you can never have too much ham, I replaced the bacon that I often use in stuffed squash with some leftover Christmas Ham, and added kale cooked in some of the juice from the bottom of the ham dish, giving the squash a decadent sweet and salty flavor.

Stuffed Delicata Squash with Leftover Christmas Ham
1 medium delicata squash
1/4 c. raw walnuts
1/2 c. cooked rice
1 T. bacon grease or olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
6 c. uncooked kale (about 4 large stalks), leaves removed from stems and ripped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 c. broth (use ham juice if you have it!)
1/2 c. diced ham
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

Slice squah in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until soft to the touch, about 30 minutes. Roast walnuts in a separate dish for about 10 minutes, stirring once.

Meanwhile, heat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon grease and garlic clove, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add kale and a sprinkling of salt. Stir until the kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes, then add broth, reduce heat and cover. Simmer until kale has shrunken in size and lost some of its color, about 15 minutes.

When squash is done, remove from the oven. Scrape flesh into a large bowl. Add kale, walnuts, rice and ham. (Liquid from the kale should be enough to moisten the squash, but you might have to add butter.) Stir well, then scoop back into squash shells. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then place back in oven until cheese begins to brown, about 15 minutes.

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