KALE & SAUSAGE COUSCOUS STUFFED SQUASH

If you are not in a relationship you may want to skip forward to the recipe, be warned there is a married person rant coming…

Recently the Lovely Husband and I were out for dinner with two friends. Our friends are not in a relationship, they are mutual friends that we have recently introduced as they have many things in common and incidentally have lots to talk about.

As we sat the four of us at dinner, our friends were talking to each other and the Lovely Husband and I sat there in relative silence. Silence that made me feel very awkward. I was keenly aware that if someone was observing our table, we’d be that couple who are not talking to each other.

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I attempted to lure the Lovely Husband into a conversation, only to be told that it was very loud in the restaurant. Great so not only do we have a terrible marriage, with nothing in common, we are also really, really old…

Time to pull back from this ledge.

Why was I allowing the potential unfounded judgement of others bother me?

Ah but I didn’t pull back from the ledge, in fact I got a little closer when I proceeded to do a Google search for “married couple not talking” the next day. If the search results were any indication, I was not alone in feeling this fictitious judgement.

The researcher in me could not help but read further. At first the results made me sad, and then angry that there is so much crap and judgement out there.

I get no one wants to be that couple who sits in silence – but does that mean there is something fundamentally wrong with your relationship if you do? No! So thank you romantic comedies for programming us to think that sitting in silence is the kiss of death for a relationship. It is not. I like the quiet and there is nothing wrong with me, or my marriage.

If you thought I might end this rant with some revelation about communication, or us committing to talking more, I am not. If I have any wise words of wisdom from this experience, it is that I hope you will join me on working to not take on the judgements that you think others are dishing out. We all do, we’re human, we feel it. Next time it happens and we find ourselves feeling this way, let’s try sending it right back to Judgey McJudgerson. Personally I have no room in my marriage for it. Oh and please don’t ever Google search “married couple not talking”!

So what does my relationship rant have to do with this recipe?

Well finding a partner and a relationship that truly fits you is a lot of work, and getting a recipe just right is a lot of work.

There were earlier versions of this recipe that were okay, it made for a good dinner, but there was something missing. It wasn’t terrible, it just was not perfect for me.

There were earlier relationships before the Lovely Husband, who were okay, they were nice guys, but I certainly wasn’t walking down the aisle with any of them.
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After some trial and error I figured out that couscous made a better filling than rice. That adding in fresh lemon juice lifted the flavor of the dish. And that panko gave a nice crunch, but adding in ground walnuts gave an earthy richness to the crumb that was seriously delicious.

After some trial and error I found that adding in some compassion, humor, and loyalty was the right mix for my perfect partner…

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And for this dinner at home we were silent for all the right reasons!

KALE & SAUSAGE COUSCOUS STUFFED SQUASH

Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 italian sausage, casings removed
  • ¼ cup finely diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • ½ cup couscous
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp panko
  • 2 tbsp ground walnuts
  • 2 tbsp shredded parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juiceolive oilsalt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Slice squash in half, length wise, and remove seeds. Rub the flesh of the squash with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place in oven safe dish, flesh down. Cook for 30 minutes or until soft.
  • Place skillet on stovetop on medium heat and cook sausage that has been removed from casings. Break up the meat as it cooks to form crumb like consistency. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add olive oil to skillet, then cook onion and garlic until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped kale, allow to cook for 2 minutes, before adding in couscous and stock. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet and cook for 10 minutes. When couscous is fluffy, mix in lemon juice, parsley and cooked sausage
  • In the meantime mix together butter, walnuts, panko and parmesan. Set aside.
  • Once squash is cooked remove from oven. Stuff each side with couscous mixture, before topping with walnut panko crumb. Return to oven under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until brown
  • Serve immediately.

WINE PAIRING
With dinner I paired an Italian white wine – Borgo Di Colloredo Falanghina. Falanghina is regional grape really only grown in the Campania region of Italy. Generally Falanghina wines refreshing and bright with a crisp acidity. Borgo Di Colloredo Falanghina was very aromatic, and we felt the strong floral and citrus notes was a contrast with a nutty, roasted flavor of the stuffed squash.

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