Monday, November 24, 2014

Squash Stuffed Rice Pilaf

I've made several versions of this over the past few weeks and thought I'd share one of my favorite go-to meals for the Fall season.  You can play with the ingredients and use different kinds of squash to find what suits your family best!  I've done it before where you roast the pilaf inside the squash, but I find just filling the already-roasted squash with the already-preapred pilaf gets the food in my little one's mouths faster.  This is a great way to use leftover turkey as well!

1 medium squash for every two people, cut in halves or quarters, depending on size (I typically use three acorn squash for my family of five, or two butternut squash)

Preheat oven to 350.  Light oil a roasting pan.  Clean out seeds from the squash.  Place flesh-side-down on the roasting pan.  Bake for 45-60 minutes, until flesh is tender (use a fork or knife to test).

1 cup long grain rice, prepared as directed (I use half chicken broth and half water for the liquid)
1/2 cup wild rice, prepared as directed
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
two stalks celery, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 - 1 cup meat, optional (My favorites are cooked and crumbled bacon or leftover turkey.  Cooked and diced chicken works well, as does a mild crumbled sausage)
1/2 apple, chopped
1/4 cup fired cranberries
1/3 cup toasted nuts
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large frying pan on medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery, and garlic and cook until they are starting to soften, about five minutes.

Add thyme, sage, meat and apple.  Cooke about five more minutes (the apple will still have a little texture to it.  You can cook it first with the onions if you want it to be softer).

Last, add rice to pan.  Turn heat down to medium, and stir while cooking a few minutes to combine everything well (you can cooke more or less time, depending on how dry you want your pilaf to be.). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove pan from heat.  Stir in cranberries and nuts.  Pile pilaf into baked squash halves, top with a dollop of butter (why not?!), and serve hot.

Happy Thanksgiving week!

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