Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sausage, Sage, Squash and Quinoa Skillet

The other day I was pondering what to do with my left over pumpkin. You see, I had bought two pumpkins for Halloween and carved one myself and saved the other for C to carve. Well C never got around to carving it. So I thought I would use it for food instead of some sort of decorative ornament. My only problem is that I’ve never done this before. I have always had to throw out my pumpkins after carving them because they rot so quickly and I’ve never bought a pumpkin specifically to bake with. I know you are supposed to pick the small sugar pumpkins to bake pumpkin pies and that sort of thing, but here I had a huge pumpkin that I wasn’t even sure how to tackle cutting.

So I’m thinking what I should do with this thing, when I decide to make a savory dish out of it. Everything pops into my head and I feel I have a winner on my hands. So I go and grab the pumpkin off the deck and the top is rotten already. Oh boy. I do not like wasting food, but I also do not like using vegetables that are starting to rot. So I lay my idea to rest for the night and made something completely different (quinoa sushi) for dinner that night.

The next day I had a revelation. I had on my shelf a butternut squash. I could use it to make my meal! I really wanted to make this dinner because it was the first dinner I have thought of completely on my own with no recipe at all! Most of my food (that isn’t basic meat and potatoes) comes from at least one recipe if not a combination of several. So for dinner I made this sausage, sage, squash and quinoa skillet. I don’t really know what else to call it, but it is like Thanksgiving on a plate.  Canadian Thanksgiving is long over, but if you find yourself craving the savory flavour of Thanksgiving, this might just be the next best thing.

Sausage, Sage, Squash and Quinoa Skillet

1 Butternut Squash (or small pumpkin)
1 medium White or Yellow Onion, thickly chopped
1 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoon fresh Sage, finely chopped
½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
½ cup Walnut pieces
1 package Ground Pork Sausage (gf)
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Water
1 tablespoon Creamed Coconut
Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Take your butternut squash and cut it in half. Scoop out the guts in the center. Place face down (skin up) on a foil lined cookie sheet and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes to an hour or however long it takes it to get soft throughout.

In a small pot, place one cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water and throw a tablespoon of creamed coconut* in the pot. Place on high until it starts to boil, and then reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes with lid on.

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, melt the butter. Add onions, sage, pepper and nutmeg and cook until golden and soft.  Push the onions to the side and add in your pork sausage and cook until no longer pink.

Once your pork is done add in the walnuts to lightly toast them and then add quinoa to your frying pan with the sausage and onions and mix well. Next, cube your cooked butternut squash and stir them into the mix.  Plate and serve warm.

* I discovered recently that if you throw in a little bit of creamed coconut into the quinoa, it cuts the bitter nutty flavour of the quinoa and makes it more palatable, without an overpowering coconut flavour. It’s my new favorite thing to do.

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