I spent a long time coming up with something to say this week. I even wrote a long ranting entry on what happened at the prefecture last week when I went to renew my visa. Hint: Bullet proof glass, lots of paper shuffling and a woman who, despite speaking with me in French for 10 minutes, asked me if I was ready to have an interview in French.
Let’s just take a moment to pray that I am given my 10 year residency permit this year, because something might get torched if I have to do this again.
Sounds drastic? How about this photo I dug up on my husband’s old computer from my first week in France four years ago?
I was told that this is a common and therefore “acceptable”* form of protest.
NaNoWriMo is rolling along. The weather has finally turned from early autumn to “hey it might be December in three weeks!” and I’m waiting for Beaujolais Nouveau day to roll around so that I can go out with my other ex-pat friends and boire jusqu’à je ne peux plus boire.+
I’ve been playing with photography and experimenting with textiles and lighting. So far, success is elusive. As you can see.
That’s really it.
So I bring you Acorn Squash, which doesn’t get enough play.
Yeah, yeah, we know you can roast it in the oven with a knob of butter and some cinnamon and nutmeg and it’s very tasty. Acorn squash tends to be a bit sweeter, a bit nuttier, almost bordering on chestnut quality taste, so the butter, the cinnamon play off that, creating a kind of sweet side during dinner. But I wanted to use that sweetness by combining it with savory flavors.
Bulgur and spinach and tomatoes and onions and smoked Toulouse Sausage. That about sums it up. These things make a perfectly acceptable meal on their own; they make a warm healthy and filling bulgur-type salad. Acorn squash makes a perfectly acceptable side to something. I was worried these flavors would not match, but we were pleasantly surprised. Bulgur has that comforting homey wheat flavor and the smoked sausage adds an extra layer of savory, while the vegetables just add vegetable freshness.
This was the first time my husband had eaten acorn squash. He’s one of those people who likes vegetables but is very suspicious when I bring home a new one. However, he liked this meal and the squash so much that he literally scraped the skin of the squash completely clean. I have to say, I felt a little proud. Of me.
Next week, or in a few days, whichever, I’ll try to come up with something more interesting. For now, enjoy your acorn squash and your autumn.
*acceptable meaning they don’t look to hard for the culprits
+drink until I can’t drink any more
- 1 acorn squash
- 120g fine bulgur
- 240g vegetable stock
- 1 tomato, diced
- 100g spinach, chopped (I used frozen, but fresh is obvious better)
- 1 onion, minced
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 2 small Toulouse sausages
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Some shredded cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 220°C/420°F. Cut open acorn squash and empty the insides. Peel and pierce the garlic cloves. Rub some olive oil on the inside of the squash, place the garlic inside, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and wrap in tinfoil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the squash is tender and easy to pierce with a fork.
- In the meantime, boil up the vegetable stock and cook the bulgur. Mine takes literally 5 minutes, but I’ve read elsewhere it can take up to 20. Basically until cooked and soft like couscous. Add spinach, onion, and tomato and mix. Cover tightly to keep warm. You can add salt and pepper if you want, but with the stock, it shouldn’t be necessary.
- In another medium sized pot, bring water to a boil and boil the sausages for about 15 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the sausage, but 15 is usually pretty good for the smaller ones. (Stop laughing, you child, you.) Drain water and chop up the sausage, then add to the bulgur.
- Once the squash is done, remove them from the oven, and pack your bulgur, veggie, sausage stuffing into the squash. You can really smash it in; it’s more fun like that. There will be plenty of stuffing left over, either serve on the side or keep for another day. Top with a little bit of shredded cheese, if you like (I used Emmental cheese, but mozzarella, parmesan or cheddar would all work). Wrap the stuffed squash back in the tinfoil and bake another 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
- A Sauvignon blanc or light light Pinot noir would both probably work here. Maybe a Chardonnay. Think Burgundy.