Makes 4 -6 stuffed acorn squash halves
¾ cup dried brown rice, rinsed and cooked
¼ cup dried wild rice, rinsed and cooked
2-3 cups vegetable broth (homemade or low sodium), divided
1/3-1/2 cup dried mushrooms
3 medium or 2 large acorn squash
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or brown sugar
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 celery stalks, diced
¼ cup dried cranberries (no sugar added variety or sweetened with apple juice)
½ -1 tsp. Herbamare or salt
½ tsp. pepper
½ cup pecans, toasted –see Note
NOTE: To toast raw pecans, preheat oven to 350° F/177° C. Place pecans on baking sheet and toast for about 4-5 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning.
1. If using a rice cooker, cook your rice 1 hour before you start making the squash. Rinse rice and place in rice cooker. Fill to appropriate line with vegetable stock, not water. Add chopped and rinsed dried mixed mushrooms. Add a little salt and pepper if desired. Stir to combine and cook on mixed rice/white rice setting (depending what kind of rice cooker you have). Let steam 10 minutes after done cooking and fluff with a fork.
2. Heat the oven to 400° F / 204° C and place a rack in the middle position.
3. Cut squash in half with a sharp knife and de-seed. Make sure to get out all the stringy bits inside.
4. Place the squash -hollow side up –on a baking sheet, and spray some cooking spray lightly on the tops and insides of the squash halves. Brush maple syrup on the tops and insides as well, and season with salt and fresh pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until ‘fork tender’.
5. Pour the vegetable broth or water into a pan and when it’s hot, add the onion, and celery. Cook this for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just softened.
6. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice, pecans, and cranberries. Add salt and fresh pepper if desired.
7. Scoop the rice filling into the roasted squash halves (about ¾cup for each if 4 halves, ½cup if 6 smaller halves)
8. Continue roasting the squash for 20 to 30 minutes more –until it’s completely tender, the edges have started to brown a little, and the filling is hot in the middle.
9. Serve the squash warm, with balsamic vinegar on the side as a dip, and a nice salad.
** Notes: Next time I think I’ll add a little thyme and rosemary to the rice when it cooks
Recipe by Veronica Grace on October 15, 2013