Meatless Monday: Stuffed Squash

Squash Stuffed With Wild Rice, Pears, Cranberries, and Walnuts

Squash Stuffed With Wild Rice, Pears, Cranberries and Walnuts
Serves 6. Recipe is from the Pear Bureau Northwest.

3 acorn or dumpling squash
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 tbls. (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
¾ cup wild rice
1½ cups canned low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ tsp. salt, plus extra to taste
2 cups water
2 tbls. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large rib celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 firm Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
2 tsps. minced fresh sage
2 tsps. minced fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. If necessary, trim the top and bottom so that the squash will sit level. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle each half with salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste. Using 3 tablespoons of the butter, dot each half. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake the squash just until moist and tender, about 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, combine the rice, broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a low simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes. When the rice is done, most of the water should be evaporated.

3. In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the pears and sauté 2 minutes longer. Cover the pan, adjust the heat to medium-low and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, 3 minutes longer. Add the sage, thyme and parsley and sauté 1  more minute. Remove from heat.

4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, vegetables, pears, walnuts and dried cranberries. Add salt and pepper, if desired. Mound the rice into squash halves, dividing it evenly. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into small pieces. Dot each squash with butter. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

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