Harvest Stuffed Acorn Squash
|½ cup brown rice|
|¼ cup wild rice|
|2 cups vegetable broth|
|¼ tsp kosher salt|
|2 acorn squash, washed and dried|
|½ to ¾ cup onion, chopped|
|1 Tbsp Vera Jane's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil|
|½ cup celery, diced|
|¼ cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped and toasted*|
|¼ cup dried apricots, diced|
|½ cup dried cranberries|
|2½ tsp ginger, minced|
|1/8 tsp cardamom|
|1/8 tsp ground cloves|
|½ tsp ground cinnamon|
|½ tsp kosher salt|
|1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper|
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Simmer both varieties of rice together in broth or water with ¼ teaspoon of salt about 50 to 60 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Cut a thin slice from the side of each squash so you have a flat surface against the cutting board. Halve squash lengthwise and remove the seeds and stringy pulp. Place squash, cut side down, onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.
In a skillet, sauté onion in olive oil until it becomes transparent. Add the celery and sauté a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Using a large mixing bowl, combine this mixture with the cooked rice, walnuts, apricots, cranberries, and remaining spices and seasonings.
When done, remove the partially baked squash from the oven. Spoon out some of the cooked squash and mix it with the rest of the filling ingredients. Be sure to scrape only a little; you want to leave squash in the shells, too.
Press the rice mixture into each squash cavity, mounding rice as much as possible. Depending on how large the squash are, you may end up with some leftover rice mixture, which makes a great side dish by itself.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes or until squash flesh is thoroughly tender.
*A few minutes spent toasting nuts enhances the flavor. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast the nuts, stirring several times, until they are aromatic and begin to turn golden in color (about 5 to 10 minutes, depending upon the variety of the nut).
Makes 4 servings