This robust dish makes a handsome centerpiece for any holiday feast, or an abundant side for a meat-based meal. Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike will relish the autumn colors and richly satisfying flavors of golden-orange squash with whole-grain bread stuffing, enlivened by wild rice, onion, and sage.
Did you know that wild rice isn’t really a rice but a grain? Whatever it is, wild rice adds toothsome texture and nutty flavor to this hearty offering. Don’t be surprised if this recipe becomes a family favorite, asked for year after year.
4 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound each)
3/4 cup raw wild rice, rinsed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 heaping cup chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups firmly packed torn whole wheat bread
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon each dried sage and dried thyme
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
1 cup fresh orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Halve the squashes and scoop out seeds and fibers. Place them cut side up in shallow baking dishes and cover tightly with covers or foil. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm.
2. In the meantime, bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in the wild rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onion is limp and golden.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked wild rice with the sautéed onion and the remaining ingredients. When the squashes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving firm shells about 1/2-inch thick. Chop the pulp and stir into the rice mixture. Stuff the squashes, place in foil-lined baking dishes, and cover.
5. Before serving, place the squashes in a preheated 350F oven. Bake 20 minutes, or until heated through.