03 November 2013

Stuffed squash rings

We grew a lot of winter squash, and some summer squash, and then we also had volunteer squash from 2012. Plants came up in the garden at different spots and we just let them grow. They were mostly summer squash from our 2012 plantings of green zucchini (courgettes) and yellow squash.

The volunteers were from plants that had hybridized, I guess, because they were basically yellow but with green ends on them. They were shaped like zucchini. They grew very big, and we assumed they were too big to be edible. They seemed to have become gourds. Until we tried one...

Callie was pretty interested in what I was doing — getting the rings ready for the oven.

Yesterday I cooked the last big hybrid summer/winter (autumn?) squash according to an idea that I got from Ms. Lemon's cooking blog, here. Ms. Lemon lives in Southern California, I believe. I don't know her but I'm happy to have found her blog when she left a comment on my recent post about Jacques Pépin.

What you do is cut the long sausage-shaped squash — a summer or winter variety — into 2-inch (5 cm) thick slices. You then use a knife or spoon to remove the seeds and pulp at the core of each ring, hollowing it out so that you can put stuffing in the hole. Lay the rigs on one of the cut sides, and then fill them with stuffing.

I didn't know how much stuffing I would need but it worked out. I mounded the stuffing up and used it all to fill the six squash rings I had made. The ingredients were:
¾ cup dry couscous (180 ml)
1 cup or more hot water (240 ml or more)
2 small carrots, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 or 8 mushrooms, finely chopped
½ cup of dried tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground cloves
10 oz. ground pork, chicken, or turkey (300 g)
2 eggs
salt and pepper
olive oil
smoked or sweet paprika, for dusting
Put the couscous in a 2-cup measure or large bowl and pour on the hot water. The couscous will absorb all the water and become light and fluffy. It's the base of the stuffing.

Sauté the carrot, onion, garlic, mushrooms, dried tomato, and spices (your choice of spices, really). Let that mixture cool and then mix it with the re-hydrated couscous and the ground meat. Add the eggs and mush everything together well, seasoning the stuffing to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill each squash ring with the stuffing mixture, mounding it up on top, and sprinkle each mound of stuffing with some paprika. Drizzle each squash ring with olive oil. Put the stuffed squash rings in a medium oven for 30 minutes or more, testing the squash with a skewer to make sure it's tender. Then turn the oven up higher to let the stuffing mounds brown a little. Serve.


  1. Your squash look very like the marrows that everyone used to grow. We don't grow them ourselves but I miss the days when I would visit my parents and come away with half a marrow to cook !!

    My mum used to cook them in a similar way, using a breadcrumb based stuffing, then serve them as a side dish with sausages or chops.
    Another way she cooked them was to fill the slices with a sauce which was very like a meaty bolognaise sauce, cover them with cheese sauce and then bake them. This was a great family favourite.

  2. Jean, it looks as though it has a much denser, more squash like flesh.
    Mum used to do the same two marrow recipes as yours... and our favourite was also the cheesy-topped baked one.
    She also used to do chunked marrow in a white sauce.
    Escapee courgettes [and there are always some] can be cooked the same way... and I think have a better flavour than marrows

    Ken, we got a Gold Nugget squash / Lebanese-type* courgette cross accidentally one year...
    not from volunteers though...
    we were running low on the Lebanese seed so kept the seed from a more mature one [that we'd missed...
    see my comment above to Jean].

    The offspring were not Lebanese-type at all... they were small gold barrage ballons with a green end.
    We'd been growing Gold Nugget that year in the next bed!!
    Our other Cucurbits were on another plot altogether.
    They were very tasty...
    and eaten stuffed like yours...
    but as boats.

    Your stuffing mix has been cut and pasted into our recipes bank!

    *Lebanese-type squash are the Indian Club shaped ones...
    Viz: Précoce Maraîchère which we grow every year...
    [except this... didn't germinate]...
    excellent flavour and good looks...
    and with no bitter skin.

  3. It looks fabulous and delicious!

  4. Looks great! How large are the rings?

  5. Looks very yummy. Have made of note of your stuffing recipe for possible future use :-)

  6. Evelyn, the largest rings are 3½ to 4 inches across, and about 2 inches high. I don't know if you can get squashes of that size. The original recipe by Ms. Lemon used a squash variety called Delicata.

  7. I really can't wait until someone invents the ability to taste things via the Internet. Why not, eh?

  8. p.s. This year, in the stores, we had yellow zucchini (courgettes) -- same shape and size as green zucchini, but yellow all over, except green at the stem end.

  9. Jean, we don't have marrows in the U.S., so I don't really know what they are like. Filling these squash rings with bolognese sauce and baking them with cheese on top sounds really good. That's on my list.

    Judy, did you see in my photos how thr ends of these squashes were dark green? I thnk there's one more growing out back. I'll have to take a picture of it.

  10. Hi Ken, I am back. Oh, I love your adaptation. I really think anything inside these squash would be good, but I am going to try your version.

    Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon

  11. The yellow ones also make the most fantastic pickle :-)) Have a good week Diane


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