Happy Monday! Hope you all had a great weekend. It was lovely here in the prairie with bright sunny skies and cool crisp weather. Definitely a great weekend to be out and about. The fall colors are at its peak right now and so we took a drive out to the apple orchard (post to follow). There was so much to see, do, and taste. It is the season for apples and winter squashes.
Winter squashes come in all shapes and sizes with a hard outer rind and a sweet yellow to orange colored flesh. Their hard protective skins are difficult to pierce but it gives them a long shelf life. They are not only delicious but also an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) and a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese.
Although squashes are available almost year round, they are at their best from October to November when they come into season. Some varieties that are easily available include butternut, acorn, carnival, sweet dumpling, turban, delicata, hubbard, spaghetti, and the beloved pumpkin. Oh yes…we can’t get enough of the pumpkin! Do check out my pumpkin posts Spiced Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Cranberry Scones. There will be more recipes to come. Do stay tuned…..
Carnival squash is the variegated version of the acorn squash. In terms of texture and flavor, it is very similar to that of the acorn squash. It is particularly beautiful stuffed.
I love wild rice blends. This particular blend comes with long grain brown rice and Minnesota wild rice.
- 2 carnival or acorn squash, about 1½ lbs each
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp olive oil and some for squash
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ stick celery, diced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 cup (180g) wild rice blend, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup (240ml) cranberry juice (I used pomegranate juice)
- 2 cups (480ml) water
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Halve squash lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Set squash in a baking dish cut side up. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 1 hour 15 minutes until tender.
While squashes are roasting, heat olive oil an a medium sized saucepan. Fry onions, garlic, celery, and carrots until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in wild rice blend. Add cranberry juice and water. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about 45 minutes until rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat.
Stir in agave nectar, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and sliced green onions.
When squash is done, remove from oven. Dividing evenly, mound cranberry wild rice stuffing into squash cavity.
This Cranberry Wild Rice Stuffed Squash makes a delicious vegetarian lunch or it can be served as a side dish with meats or bratwursts.
NOTE: This post was updated on December 3rd, 2014 with new pictures.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!