Enjoy a hint of Autumn with this Summer squash! Fall is just around the corner and the farmers’ markets are bustling with amazing fall produce. The Red Bank Farmers’ Market is a true gem with its variety of vendors and farmers who come together from around the state and beyond to bring you their most prized pumpkins, zucchini, tomatoes, squash and so much more.
I’m so excited to have found a new favorite vegetable at the farmers’ market. It’s the Delicata squash. I was first attracted to the Delicata’s dark green stripes and butter yellow skin. The contrasting colors caught my eye right away and then I just had to find out what this squash was all about.
Fortunately, the woman selling them began to tell me about the many ways I could prepare this colorful vegetable. But I was truly sold on the Delicata when the woman told me I did not have to peel it. You simply scoop out the seeds, bake or roast it and you are all set. Apparently, the name Delicata refers to its delicate skin that can be eaten once cooked. This mean less prep time needed! In that case I’ll take a dozen please.
I’m so happy I was lured by its color, because when I finally cooked the Delicata its flavor was just as amazing. I wish I could have had the camera on my phone ready to capture my husband’s reaction when he tasted this little treat. It’s one to write down for the books. I made Stuffed Delicata Boats with diced chicken, cherry tomatoes, onions and parmesan cheese. The final touch was a drizzle of Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar. Oh yes, it was so wonderful, my dad (who never eats vegetables) loved it. I have to give major credit to the squash, though. It’s true that is has a delicate skin but the flavor is also delicate. The texture was that of a sweet potato with the subtle but unmistakable flavor of tender squash with a slight touch of sweetness. I am now a reformed squash eater. No longer will I have to refuse a squash because of fear of having to peel it.
3 delicata squash, cut lengthwise, seeds removed
Water used to fill the baking dish
2 cups of diced chicken, dark or white meat
12 cherry tomatoes
1 tsp Rosemary Garlic Dipper spice
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ cup cooked brown rice
1 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Season your chicken with Rosemary Garlic Dipper spice and set aside. Place the prepared squash face down on a baking dish. Pour water in baking dish until about ½ inch filled from the bottom. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 – 25 minutes, until squash is tender. While squash is baking prepare the stuffing. Saute the onions and a few minutes into cooking add the garlic. Add the chicken and cook at medium to high heat until thoroughly cooked. Add the tomatoes. Cook until they begin to peel. Stir everything together. The mixture should be very juicy because of the tomatoes. Add the cooked brown rice. Continue cooking and mixing until the juices have been absorbed by the rice, about 2 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. When squash is done, carefully remove them from the pan. Dump the water and return the squash to the baking pan. This time place the squash facing up. Begin stuffing the squash with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chicken and vegetable mixture. Top off with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 3 to 5 minutes on the top rack. Drizzle Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar or Cinnamon Pear Balsamic Vinegar before serving.