Elements of Food

The Wonders of Winter Squash

I LOVE winter squash…Butternut, Acorn…I love them all. Not only are they rich in vitamins, but they are oh so good prepared in so many ways. One of my most favorite ways to prepare Acorn squash is to cut it in half, add a dab of butter and maple syrup and roast until tender…the aroma is phenomenal and it tastes so fabulous, it could almost be dessert.  Acorn squash are also incredibly tasty stuffed with various fillings. I made these Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash last night and my husband loved the filling so much he ate the rest of the filling right out of pan. I highly recommend using all wild rice. I’m not a fan of the wild rice blends…this dish is much more savory when you use just wild rice. But, if you are in a time crunch, you can use a blend. Just don’t use the seasoning packet that tends to accompany those. Wild rice can take over an hour to prepare, so you need to plan ahead! Serves 2.

Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 1 Whole Acorn squash
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Using a bread knife, cut your acorn squash in half length wise. Remove the seeds.
  3. Fill the bottom of a square baking dish with about a 1/2 inch of cold water. Place the squash skin side down into the dish. The water in the dish prevents the squash from drying out while roasting.
  4. Place  1/2 to 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter in each half of squash and place in the oven. As the squash roasts, continue to brush the melted butter over the edges of the squash so they don’t dry out.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until tender.
  6. You can leave the squash in the dish covered in foil if your rice isn’t quite ready, to keep them warm.

Wild Rice, Cranberry & Pecan filling

  • 1/2 Cup Wild Rice
  • 4 Cups of water
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried rubbed sage (this really makes the dish…do not forget it or substitute it for anything…)
  • 1/2 Cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
  1. In a large saucepan, combine 4 cups of cold water and 1/2 cup of wild rice. Bring to a rolling boil for 35 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand in the water (covered) for an additional 35-45 minutes depending on how soft you like your rice. I let mine sit about 45 minutes. Drain the excess water from the wild rice and place it into a bowl.
  2. In the saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallots and garlic. Saute until soft. Add the sage, cranberries and pecans and stir until combined. Add in the rice and stir until heated through.
  3. Fill each half of the acorn squash with the rice mixture and serve immediately.

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