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Spiced Lamb with Dried Cherries in Acorn Squash

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Inspired by the flavors of the Middle East, this meal comes in its own edible container. Acorn squash takes time to cook through. If you need to speed things up, use the microwave variation.

Ground lamb can be found at Middle Eastern grocers and many supermarkets. If you have the opportunity to speak to the butcher, ask for lean ground lamb, as lamb can be fatty. Ground sirloin or ground round can be substituted for the lamb.

4 servings

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationgluten-free, high fiber, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturefruity, meaty, savory, spiced, sweet

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash, 1½ pounds each
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ pounds ground lamb
  • ¼ cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1½ teaspoons curry powder

Instructions

PREP: Cut each squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds. Soak cherries in ½ cup warm water to plump; drain. Grate onion on box grater.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil; oil foil. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet and bake until beginning to soften, about 45 minutes.

Beat egg and tomato paste in medium bowl to dissolve paste. Add lamb, drained cherries, grated onion, bread crumbs, curry powder, and 1 teaspoon salt and mix well.

Turn squash cut sides up. Fill squash with equal amounts of lamb mixture. Bake until lamb filling is browned and shows no sign of pink in the center when cut with tip of sharp knife, about 45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Variation

Do not cut squash in half. In Step 1, pierce each squash a few times with a fork. Place the squash in a microwave oven and cook on high until the squash begins to soften, about 6 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then cut each squash in half, discarding the seeds. Stuff the squash with the lamb mixture and bake as directed in a conventional oven.

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This dish is amazingly delicious. I made it last year, and loved it. It popped into my head the other night- thanks to a reminder from a friend- and I had to make it again. It was just as good the second time around, and I can't get over how easy it is to make as well. You will not be sorry when you make this dish!!!

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