We’re so accustomed to seeing a huge, bronzed turkey on the Thanksgiving table that it is a treat to make a vegetarian main dish with as much flair. I have to say that this razzle-dazzling arrangement of vibrant stuffed squash can lead to a round of oohs and ahs comparable to any of those a big bird might induce. This recipe for acorn squash with jeweled wild rice uses a mix of brown and wild rice spangled with fresh pears, dried fruit and toasted pecans—serve it as the main course, or as a scene-stealing side dish.
1/2 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups apple cider
2 cups wild rice
2 cups long-grain brown rice
2 pears, cored and cubed
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped green onions
salt and pepper
8 small (1 pound each) acorn squash
1. Cut 1-inch off (and save) the top of each acorn squash and scoop out the seeds—you can cut a little off the bottoms to make them stand up if they wobble over.
2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in large pot over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until tender.
3. Add broth and cider to pot and bring to boil. Add wild rice and reduce heat to medium-low, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Stir in brown rice. Cover and simmer until rice liquid is almost absorbed, about 30 minutes.
5. Stir pears, apricots, cranberries, sage and thyme into rice. Cover and cook until the rest of the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer.
6. Mix in pecans and green onions, season liberally to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide the mixture evenly among the squash, top each squash with its lid and bake for 1 hour or until the squash is tender. Serve immediately. (Leftover rice can be baked in a dish for 30 minutes.)