Yummm — we are so blessed with fabulous foods grown locally. Here is a great showcase of loads of our local bounty! The squash, of course, can be roasted and served ‘naked,’ and the stuffing is very versatile, as a filling for roasted Walla Walla sweet onions, or any poultry.
acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, pears & cranberries
for the squash:
- 2 acorn or delicatta squashes
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
for the stuffing:
- 2 cups vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 fresh ripe pears, cut into dice
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1/2 small rib celery, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- large pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
Cut squashes in half lengthwise’ scoop out seeds. Make a small slice of the bottom, to allow squash to stand up. Rub cut surface of squash with olive oil; season with salt & pepper.
Place, cut side down, on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until just beginning to be tender, about 20 minutes for delicatta squashes and about 35 minutes for acorn. Remove from oven When the squashes are just beginning to be tender.
Meanwhile, prepare filling: In medium saucepan, bring stock to boil. Add rice blend; return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is fully cooked, 40 to 45 minutes or per package directions. Turn rice into medium heat-proof bowl; fluff with fork.
While the rice is cooking, heat the butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pears and toss to coat with the butter. Cook slowly, until the pears begin to brown. Add hazelnuts, toss and stir, toasting them until they become fragrant and nutty. Then add shallots, celery, thyme and salt; sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and fold into rice, with the cranberries and chives.
Flip squashes over, and fill the cavities with wild rice stuffing. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and return to oven to bake an additional 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
The stuffing recipe makes about 3 cups stuffing.