2 medium (or 3 small) acorn squashes, halved with seeds and fibers removed
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup Wild and Brown Rice
1 1/4 T dried ground garlic
2 t dried ground rosemary
1 T dried basil
1/2 cup dried currants, cranberries, or raisins
1/3 cup (or more if you just love nuts) smashed walnuts
2 T unsalted butter
2 T dark brown sugar, packed (3 T unpacked)
1/4 t ground black pepper
Spoon Mage™ Ingredient Note:
Do not buy mixes of seasoned rice. It is far more economical to purchase plain rice and season it yourself. In this way, you avoid ingredients you would not choose to add.
Follow the directions for dried basil and rosemary if they are store bought as they will be far less potent than herbs you grow yourself. If you are an herb gardener, use only 2 teaspoons of basil and 1 teaspoon of rosemary.
To quickly “chop” the walnuts, put them in a zip lock sealing plastic bag, partially close the bag and press out the air, then whack the walnuts a few times with the flat side of a meat mallet.
If you use salted stock, do not add more salt. If you use unsalted stock, you may wish to add a small amount of salt with the other seasonings.
For those that are not vegetarian, this dish is good made with either chicken or beef stock.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prep and measure all the ingredients.
Use a large freshly sharpened knife and carefully slice the acorn squash in half lengthwise following alongside one of the ridges. Scoop the seeds and fibers with a spoon and place in your compost bin.
Place the squash halves cut side down in a large baking pan. Pour about an inch of water in to the pan, cover tightly with foil, and roast at 350°F for about 45 minutes, or until the flesh is tender. How long this takes will depend upon the size and maturity of your squash. I’ve had big squash take an hour to soften. No worries, rice is flexible and can sit covered while you wait.
Once the squash is in the oven, start the rice. Bring the broth to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add the rice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes (or to about halfway done per the directions on your rice).
Add the dried fruit and seasonings to the rice. Simmer another 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water absorbed.
Add walnuts and toss and remove from the burner. Keep the rice covered with a lid so it stays hot if the squash halves are still cooking.
Test the squash for tenderness inserting either a fork or the tip of a knife into the side (not the bottom) of the squash. Remove pan of cooked squash from the oven and carefully turn each half cut side up, leaving them in the pan. I use two large spoons to accomplish this without breaking the tender skin.
Portion out the butter and brown sugar into each squash cavity. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Recover and return to the oven to roast for 10-15 minutes, melting the butter and sugar.
To finish the presentation, remove roasted squash to a platter, and then divide the rice mixture in the squash cavities.
Two large spoons will help your guests move the pretty things from the platter to plate.
Enjoy this mindfully beautiful dish anytime you want something a little fancy, but easy to make.