I love goat cheese, and anyone that knows me knows this about me. So I’ve been actively restraining myself from including it in every single recipe on this blog. And I’m glad I held back because I’m now using it in one of my favorite combos: with green chiles and squash.
This is a trio of ingredients that I love to work with… in enchiladas, raviolis, quesadillas, soup, salad… the list goes on. And it’s terrific here in this stuffed squash recipe too. The squash is sweet, the green chiles are spicy, and the goat cheese is tangy. Perfection.
The acorn squash is a perfect bowl for these ingredients, and holds together really nicely after being cooked. The filling for the squash can be made from any number of ingredients… here I used my key combo of goat cheese + green chiles, plus three ingredients that are in heavy rotation in my house and I almost always have cooked and ready to go: beans, chicken, and rice.
For the beans: sometimes I buy canned, sometimes I cook them from dried. Canned is great to have on hand for last-minute meals, or when you’re devoting your efforts to other, more labor-intensive parts of the meal. And when I cook dried beans, I cook A LOT. Then I separate them into 2-cup servings and freeze. To defrost, I will leave it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours.
For the rice: whenever I cook rice, I cook the entire package, which is often around 20 servings (we are a family of five so this will last us about four meals). Similar to my process with beans, I segment the leftovers into 4 cup servings and freeze. To reheat, I microwave for about 2-3 minutes — more if the portion is larger.
For the chicken: whenever I roast or grill chicken, I always add an extra pound of meat to cook. I refrigerate the leftovers and often I will use this in a subsequent dinner within the next three days, or add to my own salads at lunch, or my husband will throw into some sort of lunchtime burrito. But if the chicken has been sitting in the refrigerator unused for a few days, I will dice it or shred it and store it in the freezer (I find that it defrosts quickly when it’s been diced). Then I’ll defrost overnight in the fridge or even throw directly into a warm dish like a soup, pasta, casserole, etc. I use it within a couple of months.
So this dish makes the most of what I regularly keep on hand, transforming what could have been a long process into a quick and easy meal. While the squash cooks, I prep the filling (with plenty of time to spare), so the active kitchen time is relatively minimal.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Green Chiles, Chicken and Black Beans
The squash is sweet, the green chiles are spicy, and the goat cheese is tangy. Combined with chicken, black beans, and rice, this is the perfect fall dish.
- 2 large or 3 medium-sized acorn squash
- 1 TB olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup diced chicken
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 4 ounce can diced green chiles
- ⅓ cup chopped cilantro plus extra for garnish
- ⅓ cup chopped green onions plus extra for garnish
- 4 oz goat cheese divided
- 2 limes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard seeds. Rub cut sides of squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 45-60 minutes, until squash is tender but skin still holds it together. Squeeze half of one lime over the cut sides of the squash.
In a bowl, combine chicken, beans, rice, chiles, cilantro, green onions, juice from half of a lime, and 3 ounces of goat cheese (save one ounce for topping). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Scoop filling into cooked squash cavities, piling it high.
Sprinkle remaining 1 ounce of crumbled goat cheese over the tops of stuffed squash.
Bake for another 20 minutes at 400 degrees, until filling is warmed through and goat cheese begins to brown on top.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle extra cilantro and green onions over the top, and serve with extra lime and sliced avocado.