Recipes by Yenni Miel – Baked Squash Stuffed with Autumn-Spiced Picadillo


Thanks to Yenni for this special guest post. Looks/sounds delicious!

Since many people on this blog enjoy tasting different cultures through local restaurants, I approached PoP about writing weekly recipes featuring fresh, local ingredients that you can prepare at home. I learned to cook in my Cuban grandmother’s kitchen and have lived in various countries in South America, so Caribbean and Latin food are my specialties.

There is an abundance of beautiful, multi-colored varieties of squash at local groceries and farmers’ markets this time of year. High in Vitamins A, B6, C and potassium, among other essential vitamins and nutrients, squash has a soft texture and wonderfully complements ground beef. This recipe is very versatile; you can use any type of squash or pumpkin, stuff it with the picadillo, which is a Cuban-style ground beef, then bake it in the oven for about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and begin to prepare the picadillo with ground beef, one yellow onion, two small seeded tomatoes, one green pepper and five garlic cloves. Using a frying pan lightly coated with olive oil, heat the diced vegetables, – garlic first, followed by the onion, green pepper and tomatoes about five minutes until fragrant. Add some cumin powder, oregano, thyme, pepper and a whole scotch bonnet pepper with the stem cut off and membrane and seeds taken out. Cover this mixture, which is called a “sofrito” used to give seasoning to dishes, and simmer for about 10 minutes on the lowest heat. Meanwhile sprinkle the meat with adobo, turning it to get it all seasoned, then mash the meat into the sofrito and add the autumn spices which will enhance the natural flavors of both the meat and squash: a cinnamon stick broken into two pieces, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and a dash of brown sugar. While the meat is browning, add a small can of Spanish-style tomato sauce (Goya makes a good one for about $0.35), this will bind the meat. Lastly, add raisins, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and capers.

Let the picadillo simmer on low heat while getting the squash ready to bake. Cut the top off close to the stem, then poke the center of the squash with a foke and scoop out all of the seeds. Add a drop of olive oil to coat the inside of the squash and seal in all the flavors, then stuff the cavity with the picadillo, packing it down. Place the lid back on the squash and stick a skewer in it to remain closed while baking. Bake for about an hour, then remove from oven and sprinkle the rim of the squash lightly with brown sugar.

To serve, cut open squash and enjoy! This dish pairs well with a crisp apple salad and Dominican style red beans and rice, as pictured.

If anyone has any questions or recipe requests, e-mail me at [email protected]


20 Comment

  • If that’s what it looks like going in, what the hell does it look like coming out!

  • it looks tasty, but it would be helpful to have an ingredient list before the recipe

  • ooooooooooooh that looks so good.

  • “it looks like somebody pooped into a Mango.” – my roomate.

  • Yum! I love stuffed peppers and I love fall squash so I’m most definitely going to make this!

  • I love cooking so please keep the recipes coming. Great idea!

  • I think “my roomate” covered all the bases on this one.

  • That looks awesome. I’ll be giving it a shot this weekend.

  • Great idea on having recipes on the site, but terrible, terrible format. You really should look to some cooking blogs for inspiration on how to post these with in a more user friendly format. Things like ingredient list, cook time, serving size, breaking the recipe into digestible steps… all would go a long ways into the usability of these posts.

  • agree with meg. please make the format more usable.

  • Nice sounding recipe. Some details are missing: complete ingredient list at beginning (that’s pretty typical of recipe sites); quantity of meat; how many people this might serve.

    I’m going to try this with protein crumbles this weekend.

  • Good post. Wonderful seasonal recipe idea.

    Cuban Butternut Pumpkin stuffed with Picadillo is a savory dish and an excellent pairing of tropical tastes.

    Not all pumpkin, squash and gourds are the same.

    For those seeking an authentic Cuban “Calabasa con Relleno de Picadillo”, it’s made with Calabasa or “Cucurbita Moschata Cubanensis” (round yellow and green outside and yellow orange inside) and can be found at latin bodegas on Columbia Road or on Mount Pleasant Street with the following Picadillo ingredients for the relleno stuffing and served with more traditional Cuban Black Beans and White Rice:

    Savory Picadillo (Cuban Hash) Ingredients (left to simmer on a Sunday afternoon):

    1/2 lb lean ground beef
    1/2 lb lean ground pork

    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    1 large yellow spanish onion, chopped

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    1/2 small can tomato sauce

    1/2 cup dry sherry or dry white wine

    8 Pimiento stuffed manzanilla olives cut in half
    1 tbsp of small capers
    1/2 tsp of ground cumin
    1/2 tsp of ground oregano

    1/4 cup raisins
    1 bay leaf

    Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cuban Black Beans (left to simmer on a Sunday afternoon):

    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 yellow spanish onion very finely chopped
    1/2 green bell pepper very finely chopped
    2 16-ounce cans black turtle beans
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp oregano
    1/4 tsp sugar
    2 bay leaves
    2 tbsp white vinegar
    4 fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
    2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine
    1/2 cup pimento-stuffed manzanilla olives
    1 small jar of red pimientos, chopped (1/2 cup water as needed)

    Heat the olive oil in saucepan. Cook the onion and green pepper in it until translucent about 8 minutes. Add the canned beans, including the liquid. Add remaining ingredients and cook at low heat no less than 40 minutes; add water as needed and allow to simmer on very low heat for hours or until thickened with a peeled Malanga -a tuber vegetable. Serve with white rice. Serves 4.

    Two Good texts for Cuban recipes:

    “A Taste of Old Cuba” by Maria Josefa Lluria de O’Higgins

    “Memories of A Cuban Kitchen” by Mary Urrutia Randelman

  • Cuban black beans clarification please? You’re simmering canned beans for 40+ minutes? Isn’t that a little mushy? Dried black beans barely take 40 min.

    Also, I wouldn’t want to see too much detail recipe directions here, there are plenty of websites for that, and this isn’t the kind of thing you need exact measurements for anyway. I like that the first posting basically reminded us of seasonal ingredients and a nice cold-weather dish.

    This is a really basic dish – peasant food – that can be played with easily. It really comes down to sautee garlic, onion & whatever else in a little oil, add some spices as you like, a little meat or not as you like, some canned tomato, a bit of wine, sherry, vermouth if you have it and like it, and for extra zest, toss in the cranberries, raisens, capers, olives, put it in a squash, a green pepper, an eggplant, or cover with mashed potatoes and bake. Very flexible and forgiving.

  • The recipe says, “sprinkle the meat with adobo…” Is this a separate ingredient?

  • Thank you all for your comments and suggestions about the format – I will make the next posting easier to read.

    Regarding the comments about black beans, an easy way to thicken the beans is to remove some of them from the pot, mash them up with a fork into a paste or run them through a blender, then return to the beans and stir. Simmering the beans at a low heat creates a more intense flavor and tender texture.

    The idea of my postings will be to use seasonal and/or easy to find ingredients that we often overlook in the supermarket. The recipes will be basic

  • and easy to prepare yourself.

    Adobo is an all-purpose seasoning – you have probably seen it in the store before.

  • I agree w/ a bit more reader friendly format and knowing how many this will serve. I like basic recipes and I appreciate the “to taste” ingredients as well as variations.

  • It look amazing. It remind me something my grandma use to make.

  • “You really should look to some cooking blogs for inspiration on how to post these with in a more user friendly format.”

    Like this:

Comments are closed.