From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've recently been looking for more main course vegetarian recipes. For health reasons, several of our friends, have recently adopted a vegetarian diet and I like to cater to their dietary preferences. When I saw this recipe from Cooking Light, I knew I had to give it a try. I usually avoid recipes for acorn squash because they are so difficult to cut. Fortunately, I remembered a trick that makes them easier to deal with and decided it was time to give acorn squash another try. I used a heavy knife to pierce the squash in several places and microwaved it on HIGH power for 2 minutes. I then let it sit for several minutes before carving it as directed in the recipe below. This is a very flavorful recipe that can feed two as a main course or 4 as a side dish. The recipe is self-explanatory and easy to follow. I hope that those of you who are looking for new vegetarian recipes will gives this one a try. It is perfect for the fall season. Here is how the squash is made.
Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cooking Light
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 acorn squash
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (divided)
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed and well-drained
1/2 cup brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup celery (1 rib), chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Place pecans on cookie sheet and toast in oven, watching carefully, until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
3) Use a serrated knife to cut each squash in half crosswise. Cut a small slice from bottom of each half to make it balance better. Scoop out seeds. Brush squash flesh with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place, cavity side down, in roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes or until squash can be pierced with a fork.
4) Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in wild and brown rice and cook 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth or water and celery and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 45 to 50 minutes or until rice is tender.
5) Drain any remaining liquid. Stir in sage, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley, cranberries and reserved pecans, and combine. Fill cavity of each squash half with rice mixture and serve, placing any remaining stuffing in a serving bowl. yield: 2 to 4 servings.
Cook's Note: Squash and the stuffing, minus the pecans, can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated separately. The pecans can be toasted ahead of time and stored at room temperature. Stir the pecans into the rice mixture just before filling the squash and heating in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
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