Over the past few years I’ve tinkered around with squash recipes creating some winners like the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and BBQ Acorn Squash as well as a few questionable tasting squashy things. Interesting enough I had never tackled the infamous “Turks Turban” squash, something that in my opinion looks more like a table decoration than an eatable food. Seriously…look at those things. Who decided they were food and why should I believe them?
Well, it turns out that a Turks Turban showed up in one of our most recent CSA deliveries and I was forced to face the inevitability that the time had come to attempt to make a meal from this variety of squash.
The answer of how I proceeded into the unknown is simple: I gutted the bastard, smoked it on the grill til it could no longer breathe, stuffed it with a gluttonous combination of meat, roasted veggies, and Mexican spices, then cooked it one more time and topped off the mixture with red chili sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, and cilantro.
The result was a cornucopia of layered flavors that meddled into one rich, hearty, and spicy squash dish. Good stuff all around from which any leftovers can be combined with chicken broth and additional veggies to make one tasty soup the following day.
Have no fear and give it a try yourself.
BTW: For those WW people out there, I’m told by my better half that this dish without the cheese and with non-fat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream) is only 4 points per serving.
- 1 Turks Turban squash
- 2 Red peppers
- 1 ½ medium sized red onions
- 1 Jalapeno
- 3 Ribs of celery
- 3-4 Garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp Mexican spice mix (any mixture found at your local store will do)
- 1 tbsp Fresh oregano
- 1 bunch of Fresh Cilantro (finely chopped)
- 1 lb Lean ground beef
- 1 cup Tomatoes (cherry, diced, or whatever is available)
- Salt and pepper
- Woodchips for smoking
- ¼ Red chili sauce (optional)
- Shredded cheese
- Sour cream or non-fat plain Greek yogurt
*Note: If you don’t feel like grilling and smoking the squash, everything can be prepared in the oven.
- Set up your grill for indirect grilling, preheat to medium-high, and presoak your woodchips (if necessary).
- Similar as you would to cutting into a pumpkin, cut the top off the squash and clean out the guts/seeds.
- Place the Turks Turban squash on the cool side of the grill, add your woodchips to the coals, smokerbox, etc, and close the lid.
- Continue to add woodchips as necessary to keep a constant flow of smoke and rotate the squash every 15 minutes or so that it evenly cooks.
- While the squash is cooking, toss the red peppers, one red onion, and the jalapeno on the grill to roast, rotating as necessary and removing with charred.
- Actually cooking times will vary, but it should take around an hour for the squash to cook and soften. Use the fork poke test to determine doneness. Remove when cooked and set aside to cool.
- Roughly or finely chop up the celery and remaining red onion.
- Toss em into a large frying pan over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil or non-stick spray to lubricate and light season with salt and pepper.
- Cook the veggies until slightly soft, then incorporate the ground beef and garlic, making sure to completely break up the meat.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5-10 minutes, then remove the pan from heat.
- While the meat and veggies are cooking in the frying pan you can tend to the stuff off the grill. Scoop the squash out of the Turks Turban’s shell like so and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Skin and roughly chop up the roasted red peppers, red onion, and jalapeno, removing seeds from the peppers.
- Toss em in with the squash, add 1/4 of cilantro, the oregano, and Mexican spice mix.
- Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Incorporate the beefy veggie mixture, seasoning with salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.
- Return the squashy mixture to the Turks Turban shell.
- Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes in an oven at 350 degree or indirectly on the grill.
- Plate the squashy goodness, topping with red chili sauce, cheese, sour cream (or yogurt), cilantro, and a squirt of fresh lime juice.
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