Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Mushrooms, & Apricots

I've already made a quinoa-veggie sausage stuffed acorn squash on this blog, but hey, one good squash recipe deserves another!

Whenever I think of squash, I either think of pasta (haha, go figure!), or what I could possibly stuff the squash with. There are tons of ways to prepare squash, but at the same time, there are so many great combos of squash varieties and stuffings, that you might as well experiment repeatedly with your favorite flavors. For this filling, I decided to work with earthy and sweet elements- I used portobello mushrooms and dried apricots, but you can use cranberries, pignolis, carrots, or whatever other ingredients you prefer! I could only find a mix of wild and black rice in my cabinets, but you can also sub in brown rice- does anyone else sometimes forget what's exactly in their kitchen cabinets? Now that it's November and the holiday season is coming, I better get my inventory together! :)

And though I usually like to top off stuffed foods with breadcrumbs or grated cheese, I opted for a drizzle of balsamic reduction- sweet, simple, and I think it really rounds out the flavors of the whole dish! These would make a great dinner party entree- the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, each guest gets their own squash half, and if you are entertaining non-veg guests, they'll still feel like they've eaten their fill.

Actually, with Thanksgiving coming up in a few weeks, you'd better get that dinner party menu together sooner rather than later!

The Whats:

* 2 acorn squashes, halved with seeds & stringy bits removed
* 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
* 1 cup dried wild black rice
* 2 bay leaves
* 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
* 2 or 3 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and diced into medium pieces
* 1 small yellow onion, diced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tbsp. lemon juice
* 2 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
* salt & pepper to taste
* 8 to 10 dried apricots, finely diced
* 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, plus 2 tsp. reserved for squash

The Hows:

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle squash flesh with balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, place squash cut side down. Roast for 20 minutes and remove from oven.

2) In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add the wild rice and bay leaves; reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook rice for 20 minutes, or until soft. Fluff with a fork, and set aside.

3) While rice cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onions, mushrooms, and thyme; cook for about 4 minutes, then add apricots, lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste, and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and some of the lemon juice has cooked off.

4) Stir the mushroom-apricot mixture into the rice. Stuff acorn squash halves with the rice mix, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until squash is tender. Let squash rest for five minutes; drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.

5) To make the balsamic reduction: in a small skillet, heat the balsamic over medium-high heat; simmer until balsamic has reduced to about 1/4 cup and thickened. Immediately drizzle over stuffed squash.


JL goes Vegan said...

I love me a stuffed squash! :) Looks delicious!

sam rice said...

i love squash. healthy and so delicious. with the addition of black rice in this recipe it was more nutritious. a unique variety in stuffed squash. also try this recipe with black rice: it's a vegetarian friendly and easy to cook recipe.