We’re often asked what our favorite thing to make is, and most of the time, we struggle to come up with an answer. When you are obsessed with food as much as we are, naming your favorite type of cuisine, or talking about the best dish to create is nearly impossible. We eat pretty much everything and love many different cuisines and flavors. When we’re cooking for our clients, mostly local families with busy schedules, we gravitate towards quick, healthy and delicious meals. Heavily influenced by our daily trips to the market, different seasons dictate what we’re going to make. Summer is easy; with fresh corn, tomatoes and bounties of fruits and vegetables at the ready, the goal is to keep everything light and refreshing. Since we’ve headed into fall (despite the gorgeous weather lately) our focus has shifted to heartier fare; soups, braises and root vegetables. The trick is to keep it exciting and new, everyone gets bored of squash by mid-December, so the key is to play around with different flavor combinations and change the ingredients depending on what’s available. This particular squash recipe is perfect; easy to assemble ahead of time, and completely interchangeable.

stuffed acorn squash 2Cranberry-Walnut Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 Acorn Squash, rinsed and dried
1 cup couscous
½ onion, diced
1 small Granny Smith Apple, cored and diced
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup walnuts
1 tsp fresh chopped sage
2 tsp Garam Masala (can substitute curry powder)
Olive Oil for drizzling
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Carefully cut the squash in half and scoop out and discard the seeds. Salt the squash generously and place it, skin side down onto a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes. Once the edges start to brown and there’s no resistance when pierced with a knife, remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil to a medium sized skillet. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sweat the onions until they soften and become a little translucent. Add the diced apple, Garam Masala and fresh apple and sage. Continue to heat until the apples start to soften a bit. Add the dried cranberries and walnuts and stir to combine. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a small pot, boil 1 cup of water and a TBS of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Add the couscous, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Let the couscous sit for 3-5 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add it to the onion-apple mixture. Gently stir to combine. Stuff the acorn squash with the couscous mixture and return it to oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the squash is heated through. Garnish with fresh sage leaves and serve while warm. Works well as either a main dish or as a side.

Contributed by Chefs Richard Chudy and Katie Barszcz of The Skinny Beet.  A native Bostonian, Richard Chudy graduated from the Professional Chef’s Program at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 2007 and started a private chef business.  When he’s not busy in the kitchen, he runs Boston Burger Blog, his ongoing quest for the perfect burger in Boston.  Katie started her blog, The Small Boston Kitchen, in December of 2009 as a way to document her hours spent in the kitchen, as well as her eating adventures throughout the Greater Boston area.  In January 2011, Katie attended the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, where she received her Culinary Certificate. Katie co-owns a personal chef and catering business, The Skinny Beet