10 November 2010

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a wonderful fall vegetable and I love it.  I found this recipe awhile back and kept it the same except adding sausage to the mix.  If you want a nice vegetarian dish, just leave out the sausage.  The wild rice takes a long time to cook so you might make it ahead of time, or plan for a long prep time. 

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Apples, Sage, and Celery
serves 4 

Ingredients 
  • 1 lb ground Italian mild sausage
  • 2 acorn squash, halved top to bottom, seeds and strings removed
  • 3 cup cooked white rice, cooked with vegetable/chicken stock instead of water
  • 2 cup cooked wild rice (about 1/3-1/2 cup uncooked) cooked in vegetable/chicken stock
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored, diced to 1-2" pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons dry sage or 15 fresh minced sage leaves
  • enough olive oil to brush or drizzle on squash lightly
  • 20-30 walnut halves (no shell)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • salt, pepper
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
Directions
  1. Cook the uncooked white rice as you would normally, using stock instead of water. Use 2 cups stock to 1 cup long grain white rice.
  2. Boil uncooked wild rice in 2 cups simmering stock for about 30 minutes or longer until tender. Drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the squash cut side up on a cookie sheet and brush or drizzle with olive oil lightly. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, brown sausage.  Set aside in large bowl. 
  5. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter, and sautee the apples, celery, walnuts and sage. After about five minutes, add the brown sugar and toss to coat. Continue to sautee until the celery and apples begin to soften. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix the skillet contents with both rices in a big bowl. Scramble the egg, slice into thin strips and mix with rice. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Pull the acorn squash out of the oven after 10-15 minutes. Fill the squash with rice stuffing and put 1/2 tabelspoon of butter on top of each half and return to oven for 10 minutes or until a knife goes easily into the flesh of the squash along the top.
  8. If any rice mix is left you can bake it in a separate bowl or heat it in a skillet and serve alongside.
  9. Pull the squash out, drizzle just a very little maple syrup on top and serve to what will no doubt be an appreciative audience.
  10. You can make the rice stuffing beforehand or even pre-bake the squash in advance leaving the final 10-15 minute bake before serving.
Here is the microwave recipe we used to cook the wild rice.  It may need more cook time.
Cooking Wild Rice Using the Microwave Method

Wash 1 cup uncooked wild rice thoroughly. Combine with 3 cups water in a covered 2-quart glass casserole. Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Microwave on MEDIUM (50 percent power) for 30 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes, drain. Yield: 3-4 cups cooked wild rice. (For additional flavor, try cooking in beef or chicken broth)   

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