Whole-Roasted Acorn Squash With Chorizo And Red Pepper Crema
WHAT YOU NEED
- 1 package Cacique® Pork Chorizo
- ½ cup Cacique® Crema Mexicana
- Cacique® Queso Fresco, for garnish
- 4 to 6 acorn squash
- ⅓ cup white rice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 cup cooked or drained and rinsed canned black beans
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds, divided
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup diced canned tomatoes
- 4 to 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 red bell peppers
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
- ½ cup lightly packed parsley leaves
- ¼ cup lightly packed oregano leaves
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, trim a thin slice off the bottom of each squash so it sits upright; trim the top of the squash so it forms a “lid.” Use a spoon to scoop out all the seeds and fibers from the cavity of the squash. (If you don’t see the cavity after slicing off the top, you’ll need to use your spoon or a paring knife to dig into it.) Rinse the inside of the squash to remove any last lingering seeds.
- Add the rice to a fine-mesh sieve and rinse until the water runs clear; this removes excess starches that can make it gummy. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and ½ teaspoon salt to an active simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in the rice, cover with a lid, and decrease the heat to medium-low. Cook until the rice is tender, and all water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- In a large skillet, warm the Cacique Fully Cooked Chorizo over medium heat, using your spoon to crumble it as it heats up. Leave undisturbed for a few minutes until it starts to brown, then reserve.
- Heat the olive oil in the same skillet. Sauté the onion with 1 teaspoon salt until it’s translucent and beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook about a minute more; add the tomato paste next, breaking it up with your spoon until it smells fragrant and sweet. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the diced canned tomatoes, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two, until slightly thickened, then fold in the rice, chorizo, beans, and ¼ cup pumpkin seeds; remove from heat. NOTE: You can make the filling up to 3 days in advance.
- Set the squash on your baking sheet and drop a tablespoon of butter into the center of each. Top with the “lid” and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork but not so soft that the squash is “slouching.”
- Meanwhile, to make the crema, char the red peppers directly over a gas burner on high heat; leave them undisturbed over the flame until the skin is completely blackened before rotating. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away the charred skin and trim out the stems. Remove the seeds and membranes (this is easiest if you turn the peppers inside out; by this point, they’re very malleable) and roughly chop.
- In a blender, combined the chopped roasted peppers with the Cacique Crema Mexicana, cayenne pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt; blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To serve the squash, chop the remaining ¼ cup pumpkin seeds and lightly chop all the fresh herbs. Halve the squash lengthwise and spoon the red pepper crema over the top. Shower with chopped fresh herbs, pumpkin seeds, and crumbled Cacique Queso Fresco.