Butternut Squash Stuffed with Chorizo, Spinach & Cotija


This recipe is Part II of my Cinco de Mayo menu. I had to drag the post out a few days to keep my dear readers on the edges of their seats. I’m sure you’ve been asking yourself when, oh when, will I get around to posting the entire menu. Well, my friends, not today. I’m still holding out my Mango Guacamole recipe for another post. Sorry. 

I’m spreading out the recipes because, quite frankly, I killed it on Cinco de Mayo and they’re worth the anticipation. In moving from being a casual home cook (i.e. subscribing to the great cookbook that is Pinterest) to blogging, I’ve had to branch out and experiment with my own ideas. What I’m saying is that I have a lot more failures in the kitchen than I did in the old days. Thus, my dinner successes, dessert triumphs, and my “unique” appetizer ideas are that much more exciting for me. And hopefully you. Or else I’m sort of missing the point. Anyway, on Cinco de Mayo, all three of the recipes that I crafted were delicious. 


I started the meal with Mexican street-style corn salad/dip, then served this roasted butternut squash stuffed with flavorful chorizo, spinach, and Cotija cheese. I am thrilled with the flavor combination of spiced chorizo, earthy spinach, soft, thick butternut squash, and tangy Cotija. I recommend using the portion of the butternut squash that is shaped like a bulb (the part with the seeds in the middle). That section of the squash is already bowl-shaped, once you scoop out the seeds. I tailored the recipe to serve two. If you’re serving more than two people, then you can use the rest of the squash too (i.e. the long, slender portion of the squash). I would recommend cooking the portion of the squash first, then scooping out a bit from the middle to make room for your topping. 


I also really liked the presentation; I think I have to admit a bit of an obsession with foods-stuffed-in-other-foods (although I haven’t tried turducken yet, so I’m not too far gone). 

Husband topped his squash portion with a slice of spicy Pepperjack cheese for some extra melty goodness. I kept mine austere (as austere as a three-course meal on a Monday can be, that is) and omitted the cheese.  

Butternut Squash Stuffed with Chorizo, Spinach & Cotija
Serves 2

You will need:
  • ~ 1.5 pounds Butternut squash (approximately the size of one baking potato per person). 
    • For best results, use the bulb-shaped portion of the squash – the part with the seeds
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 4 ounces pork chorizo
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 5 cups baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup Cotija cheese 
    • Substitute feta if Cotija isn’t available
  • 2 slices pepperjack cheese (optional)

Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 350. 
  • Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise (i.e. right down the middle of the portion of the squash with the seeds). Scoop out seeds to form two bowl-shaped pieces. 
  • Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing by heating remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil, garlic, and onion on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add chorizo, salt, and pepper to the skillet and cook, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • When chorizo is cooked, stir in baby spinach and Cotija. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until baby spinach has wilted, then turn off heat. 
  • Once the butternut squash is cooked (tender when poked with a fork), mound half of the chorizo mixture into each portion. Return to oven, top with pepperjack (if using) and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  • Serve hot, with Mexican street-style corn salad on the side. 

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