By Brooke Marshall
Before the Ambler Farmers’ Market was around, I got the majority of my produce from Pennypack Farm’s CSA program. I learned about the farm by attending their annual sustainability film series over five years ago. Pennypack was my gateway into cooking with sustainable local produce, and in the beginning, I just thought it would be an interesting challenge to cook with what was in season. So I decided I’d give a crop share a try and signed up. I had no idea how it would change my view on food and how it would change the way I cook. The thing that struck me the most was how good everything tasted. A simple salad made with sustainably-farmed and just-harvested lettuce was more delicious than I could have imagined. So I was hooked. I still faced the conundrum that most CSA members experience at one point or another, which is, what do I do with all of this produce? One answer was this recipe. It has gone through several iterations over the years, but has remained one of my favorites. I hope it will become one of yours.
STUFFED SUMMER SQUASH
There are four main components in the filling for the squash, which are roasted-corn salsa, black beans, brown rice, and Monterey Jack. The roasted-corn salsa component is adapted from Marisa McClellan’s canning recipe in her first cookbook, Food in Jars, which is also the name of her blog. I love this canned salsa and recommend you check out her recipe if you’re a canner. I changed it up a bit though since I wasn’t preserving it. I tend to make the salsa the day before I make the stuffed squash to split up the work in the kitchen. I also buy Trader Joe’s frozen organic brown rice, which heats up in three minutes in the microwave, to speed up the filling prep.
Roasted-Corn Salsa –
- 2 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1/4 cup minced poblano pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- juice from 1 lime
- 1/3 cup water
Stuffed Squash –
- 5 summer squash, assorted varieties
- 1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 6 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- sour cream
- Make the roasted-corn salsa: Turn on the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the two ears of corn on the baking sheet. Roast the corn under the broiler, turning it periodically to brown on all sides. Depending on how close your baking sheet is to the broiler, it could take a couple of minutes to 5 minutes per side. Keep your eye on the corn so it doesn’t burn. Remove the corn from the oven and let it cool. Once the roasted corn is cool enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cobs. Combine the corn kernels and all other corn salsa ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the majority of the water has evaporated, which should be between 5 and 10 minutes. Set aside or refrigerate if you’re making it a day ahead.
- Prepare the squash: Turn on the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and soft flesh from the center of each half. Then place the squash halves on the baking sheet with the skin facing down. Broil the squash for 2-3 minutes, just enough so that it’s soft. Be careful not to overcook the squash, which will leave it soggy and limp. Once you’ve broiled the squash, turn the oven on to 350 degrees.
- Make the filling – Add the roasted-corn salsa, black beans, brown rice, 3 oz. of Monterey Jack, cumin, and chili power to a large bowl and mix until combined.
- Stuff and bake the squash – Fill the squash with the filling mixture and then bake the squash for 10 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and top with the remaining 3 oz. of Monterey Jack. Then bake the squash for 5 more minutes. Garnish or serve the squash with cilantro and sour cream.
Brooke Marshall is a market volunteer, Ambler socialite and overall good egg. This season she will be the market’s resident locavore, turning market proceeds into culinary delights. If you see her at market, say hello. And if you make one of her recipes, bring it to market for her approval. Only kidding about the last part.