Jun 3

Baked Stuffed Kabocha

in Fruits & Vegetables, Honey, Main Course, Meat

Marx Foods recently called for entries in their Blogger Recipe Challenge: Game Sausage Edition. I entered an idea for a recipe that would use one of the game sausages from their game sausage sampler, and my idea was picked to be in the challenge! (All of the recipes chosen for the challenge will be spotlighted on the Marx Foods blog starting next Monday (June 8th), and polls will open for voting for the best sausage recipe. The winner will receive a sausage sampler!) I was sent one of the varieties, but I didn’t know beforehand which variety I would be receiving. I was excited when I opened my box to find out they had sent me rabbit sausage!
This worked out perfectly for the idea I had submitted–stuffed kabocha (a reincarnation of one of my favorite recipes, Baked Stuffed Squash).
Rabbit is a lean and mild meat, and goes well with sweet flavors. Kabocha is a member of the pumpkin family, and something I became familiar with living in Japan, where it is eaten often and in a variety of dishes.
It’s hard not to fall in love with kabocha because it is so yummy. The outside is hard and deep green, protecting a semi-firm, dense golden orange flesh that is rich and sweet in flavor and soft and creamy when cooked–the perfect sweet accompaniment for my rabbit sausages.
Kabocha can be steamed, baked, braised, pureed, or stuffed. It can be served as a main dish or side dish, or as a base for soups, cakes, or pies. Even better is the fact that kabocha is low in calories (one cup has only 80 calories) but definitely not lacking in flavor, and is an antioxidant powerhouse, full of things like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. What’s not to love? When picking a kabocha, look for one with hard outer skin with a stem that is intact and looks fresh. Your kabocha can be stored for up to one month in a cool dry place with good air circulation. One you cut it open, it can be stored wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for a week or less. My personal trick for getting all the seeds and junk out once I’ve cut it open, is to use a grapefruit spoon to scrape everything out.
I peeled the sausage out of their casings, so that the meat would be easier to cook.
For the stuffing, I added some diced tart apple, to further compliment the sweetness of the kabocha,
and fresh crushed rosemary for its piney notes.
To add a bit of zip to the delicate meat and sugary apple, I added crumbled goat cheese, and for a bit of crunch and nuttiness, I added chopped pecans. Once I had stuffed the kabocha halves with the stuffing, I finished by drizzling them with honey, to give an added dimension of sweetness, and to help seal in the juices while they were baking. By the time the stuffed kabocha came out of the oven we were eager to eat. It looked beautiful and smelled wonderful.
Squirrel loved it, though I’m not surprised, considering her obsession with all things pumpkin. See that fork she’s holding up? Yep, there are pumpkins on the handle.
Even Bug was itching to get a taste. (See her trying to sneak her hand over to get a bite off of Mr. Fuji’s plate?)
We ended up only eating one of those halves–they are surprisingly filling–leaving us enough to enjoy for another meal.

Rabbit Sausage Stuffed Baked Kabocha

La Fuji Mama
Makes 4-6 servings

1 kabocha squash, halved and seeded (the squash I used was 38-oz. before deseeding)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped (I also chop up the leaves that come on the stalk–they are full of flavor!)
12 oz. rabbit sausage (or any sausage of your choice)
1/2 small tart apple, peeled and diced
1/2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, ground (I used a suribachi, a Japanese style mortar and pestle)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup panko (you can use regular dry bread crumbs instead)
3/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
pinch of nutmeg
2 Tbsp. honey

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place squash halves cut side down in baking pan. Fill pan with about 3/4 inch water. Bake 40 minutes, or until fork tender.
3. While squash bakes, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place onions and celery in the skillet, and cook until tender. Stir in the sausage, apple, rosemary, and salt. Cook and stir until meat has evenly browned.
4. Remove from heat, then add the beaten egg, panko (or bread crumbs), goat cheese, pecans, and nutmeg and stir until well mixed.

5. Remove squash from oven and carefully fill the squash halves with the stuffing from the skillet. Set stuffed squash in baking dish and drizzle each half with 1 tablespoon of honey.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until heated through.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Snakebit June 3, 2009 at 10:31 am

Absolutely wonderful stuff. The combination of sausage with the sweet and the nuts and the distinctive squash flavor made for a unique taste. For a Papa that loves to eat, this one made me really proud. You outdid yourself on this one.


Emily June 3, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I love kabocha squash and Billy is always trying to get me to like rabbit. I think I'll put this one away for future reference when I want to really try something he might not expect from me.


Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen June 3, 2009 at 8:13 pm

What a wonderful combination! I love kabocha squash – it has an almost perfumed flavor. I bet it works really well with the rabbit.


chou June 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Your littlest one is soooo cute. I can tell it's been too long since I visited. This recipe looks fabulous.


Abigail (aka Mamatouille) June 3, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Oh wow – I can almost imagine all those flavors and how well they must work together. I was doing tachiyomi in a depa-to one time, flipping through a cooking magazine, and I memorized a recipe that was kinda similar to this one – but with parmesan, panko, ground beef, egg, spices, etc. (like a meatloaf). I bought a whole kabocha, stuffed that baby, baked it, and the two of us (this was back before kiddiewinks) ate it for ages! I never tried it again because it was just TOO much, but your version could tempt me back to it! :)


K and S June 4, 2009 at 5:35 am

looks and sounds delicious! good luck with the challenge!


Bob June 4, 2009 at 11:15 am

I've never had kabocha, but it sounds great. I wish my girlfriend would let me eat rabbit. Every time I mention it, all I hear is "Nooooo! Not the bunnies!" Heh.


mamakd June 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Yum! That is awesome that your recipe was picked! I am interested in that rabbit sausage. Sounds interesting. I love that recipe!


from my motorhome to yours June 5, 2009 at 8:39 am

my husband would love this, looks great


Lo June 9, 2009 at 2:19 pm

You've definitely got my vote. This flavor combination ROCKS.

If only it were fall… I'd have me some rabbit and kabocha of my own!!


Bread and Jam June 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm

This looks delicious and the presentation is wonderful! I have never tried rabbit sausage but would like to.


Butterfly June 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Looks great…Good Luck!!!


UPrinting July 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Wow, I'm surprised to see that the kids love it. Kids who enjoy vegetables are rare finds, haha!
Thanks for sharing the recipe… Hopefully kabochas are available around here…


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