Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I had some friends over for lunch this weekend. I haven't seen them in a while, so it was really nice to get together.

Sometimes when we get together we do a potluck. This always turns out fun because everyone will bring the veggies they have in the fridge and we turn it into a huge salad. But this time I decided to cook the meal.

First I made the Lima Bean Soup. I've made it before and really liked it and it was a big hit with my friends too. And secretly, it was the perfect way to use up that yellow squash that was looking a little sad.

Second, I made Stuffed Acorn Squash. I had an acorn squash sitting on the counter, which was where my idea came from. Then I looked in my Mark Bittman cookbook to see if he had any good ways to cook acorn squash. He had several, but none of them worked for me. But I liked the idea he included of stuffed acorn squash with a filling with rice and some other stuff. So with that idea in mind, I took to the internet.

I quickly found that most people stuff their acorn squash with a lot of very sweet stuff. I like my squash (and my sweet potatoes) a little more savory. They are sweet enough themselves, so I need balance.

After looking and looking, I decided what I wanted to put in my squash.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
3 acorn squash, halved and deseeded
1 cup wild rice blend
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 apple, diced, but slightly larger
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tbs olive oil, plus some more
1/2 tbs sage
salt and pepper

Start the rice. Check the package directions, because some wild rice blends are different, but mine was the usual 2 cups of water for one cup of rice. Salt the water and add some oil.

Prep the squash, then brush the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place it cut-side down in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

While the rice is cooking and the squash is baking, prep the veggies. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbs of olive oil. Toss in the onions and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the carrots and celery. When those are starting to soften, add the apples and remove it from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the rice with the veggies/apple mix. Add the chopped walnuts. Stir it gently. Add the sage and salt and pepper to taste. Go ahead and be liberal with the seasoning, because there isn't a lot of strong seasoning on the squash.

Pull the squash out of the oven. Flip each half over and fill it with the rice stuffing. I had enough of the mix to fill all 6 halves plus a little left over.

Return the squash to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

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