Before the New Year I had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and cooking with Chef Dustin Beckner of Quality Social, Downtown San Diego.
I had the idea to incorporate “Chef Inspired Dishes” into Little Leopard Book a few months before and after working with Quality Social on several Boys & Girls Club Events, like the Scavenger Hunt this summer, I was able to set up an interview with their extremely talented chef.
Unfortunately trying to be the cameraman, host and interviewer proved to be a difficult feat, so please excuse any awkwardness in the video! (And don’t worry, I’ve partnered with a video producer for my next segment 😉 )
I’ve broken the two dishes down into two different posts, so here is the first “Chef Inspired Dish” recipe for Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash, also check out the Roasted Chicken recipe here!
Here’s a shot of the ingredients at Quality Social and my ingredients at home. I was able to pick up a couple of ingredients from Suzie’s Farm at the Little Italy Mercato this weekend, which Chef Dustin mentions in the video is where they get a lot of their produce!
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 1 acorn squash
- 3 tsp Basil Oil (divided)
- 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms (chopped)
- 1/2 cup barley
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup carrots (sliced)
- 1/2 cup pearl onions
- 1 cup brussels sprouts (steamed)
- 1/2 cup broccolini
- 1/4 cup spinach
Begin by slicing the squash in half, removing the seeds and placing cut side up on a baking sheet.
Next, place into a 350° oven for 25 minutes.
If you have trouble cutting the squash in half via either strength of arm or power of knife (I think my problem was a little bit of both 😉 ) then place the whole squash in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, slice in half, then place back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, begin preparing the barley, risotto style.
Start by adding 1 tsp of basil oil to a skillet over medium heat, next add the chopped mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the vegetable stock to a boil in another pot.
Next, add the barley to the pan and begin ladling the stock 1/2 cup at a time into the mushrooms and barley until the liquid is absorbed (just like risotto!)
Continue ladling the stock into the barley until they are soft to taste, about 15 minutes.
While preparing the barley, put your multi-tasking pants on and prepare the vegetables.
Add 1 tsp of basil oil to a skillet over medium heat, then add the brussels sprouts, carrots and pearl onions. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the broccolini and 1/4 cup of water to lightly steam the vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
At this point, the squash should be ready to come out of the oven, barley should be cooked perfectly and ready to fill the squash and the vegetables should be ready to top the dish!
For the final step, drizzle an additional tsp of basil oil on top, then you’re ready to dig in!
This was my version of the dish prepared at home!
And this was Chef Dustin’s version that I photographed at Quality Social after he prepared it for the video!
Hopefully I made him proud with my re-creation of his delicious seasonal vegetarian dish!
♣ Vegetarian Option: This recipe is vegetarian.
♦ Gluten Free Option: Substitute risotto rice or lentils to make this dish gluten-free.