We didn't grow any winter squash in our garden this year, but every trip to the market for the last few weeks has been met with pleas from a certain three year old to 'adopt' a pumpkin, or something that resembles one. We are overrun with an array of 'friends', all thoughtfully named... and then eaten. I'm not sure if this is the vegetarian version of compassionate consumption, but we're enjoying our squash!
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice and Mushrooms: makes four squash halves, plus some extra stuffing (you'll want it!)
- 2 large acorn squash
- 3 cups cooked wild rice (about one cup uncooked typically)
- 2-3 handfuls cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbs chopped and toasted almonds
- 1 tbs fresh sage, minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 6 tbs butter, plus more for roasting squash
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425. Chop squash in half the short way, trim off the pointy bit so that all halves sit flat. Scoop out seeds, etc. Lay all four squash halves on a heavy baking tray and rub with butter (more tastes better, surprise surprise!). Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the wild rice according to directions and set aside (also usually takes about 40 minutes, convenient right?).
Reduce oven heat to 350. Heat a large frying pan (I like cast iron) over medium heat. Add 3 tbs butter until melted, then add the shallot and garlic. Saute, stirring, a minute or two until softened, but not browned.
Add the herbs, a pinch of salt, and the mushrooms. Saute, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, adding a bit of extra butter as needed (the mushrooms will look dry at first, then release liquid, and then that liquid will get reabsorbed... this took about 10 minutes for me, but will vary depending on mushrooms, pan, and heat).
Add toasted almonds and then rice and 2 tbs butter. Saute, mixing, for a minute or two and add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the rice mixture into the squash halves. I like to mound them pretty high and warm any leftover rice for people to add to their dishes at will. Dot the top of each squash with a small dollop of butter, cover the whole tray with tinfoil, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until hot.
This makes for a festive fall dinner alongside some veggie (or meaty if you like) sausages and a green salad. I wish we could have photographed Little Smith enjoying his 'acorn bowl', which felt very special, but the light was not in our favor. We deconstructed Roo's and served her rice and chunks of squash without the skin. James put in a vote for doubling the recipe. Sometimes one squash half is just not enough. This is a meal that definitely pleases our whole family. Now to tackle all of those lingering pumpkins!