Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice
This autumnal side dish goes wonderfully with roasted poultry, ham and pork.
3 acorn or dumpling squash
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter - divided use
3/4 cup wild rice
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 teaspoons minced sage leaves
2 teaspoons thyme, minced
1/3 cup parsley, minced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted*
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard seeds and strings. If necessary, trim top and bottom so that squash will sit level, and place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle each half with a little salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste. Using 3 tablespoons butter, dot each half with some butter. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake squash just until moist and tender, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine rice, chicken broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of water, in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about 40 minutes. When rice is done most of the water should be evaporated.
- In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and sauté onion, garlic, celery, and carrot until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add pears and sauté 2 minutes longer. Cover pan, adjust heat to medium-low, and cook vegetables until crisp-tender, 3 minutes longer. Add sage, thyme, and parsley and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, sautéed vegetables and pears, walnuts and dried cranberries. Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired.
- Mound the rice mixture into the squash halves, dividing it evenly. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces. Dot each stuffed squash with butter. Cover with foil.
- Bake at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, about 20 minutes.
Makes 6 servings.
*Toasting nuts brings out their full, rich flavor. Place nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350°F (175°C) until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Alternatively, nuts can be browned in a microwave. Place nuts in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate, and microwave on high power for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch carefully that they do not burn.
Recipe and photograph courtesy of USA Pears.