When I make Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash I feel like I have became one with the Great Julia Child, and can simply toss off a company ready, special occasion recipe with much flair.
While you are looking at the pic to the left, imagine the dissolving rivers of brown sugar making tracks in melty swirls of butter dusted with fresh cracked black pepper, covered with wild and brown rice, plumped up raisins, and toasted pecans, deliriously fragrant with rosemary, garlic, and basil:
It's impressive sensory feast in addition to just being delicious. It makes a glorious side dish or fantastic vegetarian main dish. The best thing is that it is incredibly easy to make.
Wild and Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
3 large or 4 small acorn squashes (nutrition facts set on three)
6 T butter
6 T dark brown sugar
fresh cracked black pepper
2 1/2 C organic chicken broth
1 C Lundberg Wild Blend Wild and Brown Rice you can use plain wild rice if you like, but I do love the blend. I suppose you could use Uncle Ben's wild rice mixes, but if you do eliminate the rosemary garlic blend and minimize the basil addition...won't be as good though and it will be way too salty.
1/2 C raisins
2 T Spice Island's Rosemary Garlic Blend (no need to grind, just open the cap and dump it in), or 1 1/4 T dried garlic and 2 t dried rosemary
1 T dried basil
1/3 C (or more if you just love nuts) smashed pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prep and measure all the ingredients. You can get fancy and toast the nuts before putting them in a partially sealed zip lock bag and smashing with the smooth side of a wooden meat tenderizer - which does a fine job of "chopping" nuts.
Using a large very sharp knife, cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds with a spoon. Make sure to put the seeds and fibers in your compost bin. Place cut side down in a one or two baking pans as needed. Pour about an inch of water in to the pans, cover tightly with foil, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35-45 minutes or til the flesh is tender. Take care not to poke a hole in the bottom side of the acorn half as you test for tenderness or all the buttery brown sugar will escape.
After the squash is in the oven, prepare the wild and brown rice: Bring the broth to a boil in a medium sized pan. Add the rice, cover and simmer about 30 minutes (or to not quite done per the package directions). Add the raisins and seasonings and simmer another 15-20 minutes - just til the rice is just tender and water absorbed. Add pecans and toss. Cover with a lid so it stays hot while the squash halves finish cooking.
Remove squash from the oven, turn cut side up in the pan. Place 1 T butter and 1 T brown sugar into each cavity and sprinkle with pepper. Bake 15 minutes longer.
To finish, simply divide the rice mixture in the cavities of the cooked squash. Use two large spoons to carefully plate and serve.
Take the time to drink in the visual beauty of the squash and rice, inhale the savory aroma, and the notice the contrasts of texture.