Winter squash, roasted and stuffed with a medley of wild rice and vegetables is the perfect vegetarian centerpiece for any occasion, yet satisfied the most meat-loving members of your family as well. This simple dish looks beautiful, is kid-friendly, and best of all, you can vary just about everything in this recipe to fit what you have in your pantry or local market. Enjoy!
For Cleanse and Refresh
2 acorn or kabocha squash
1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup chestnuts (pre-cooked from a jar)
1-2 cups mushrooms (any kind)
optional: spinach or kale or swiss chard (a few handfuls)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Cut the top (with stem attached) of both squash off, just the top 1/4 of them. Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet, leaving the tops set aside while the bottoms are baking. Place in the oven and bake until tender all the way through, anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. You don't want them super soft and totally browned and cooked, but you do want them tender enough to easily scoop out the seeds. Add the stemmed tops/caps halfway through the cooking time.
While the squash is cooking, prepare the wild rice. Bring 4 cups of water with one teaspoon of sea salt to a boil. Then add the wild rice and when it's at a boil again, reduce the heat, cover 3/4 of the pot with a lid (let the steam escape through an inch crack) and simmer until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Some like it al dente and some like it very soft, it's totally based on your own preference.
Roughly chop the onions, mushrooms (if using) and chestnuts.
Heat a large pan and the coconut oil over medium heat, add the onions and chestnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and brown. Then add the wild rice, mushrooms and greens (if you are using the latter two) and anything else you're adding in, stirring until everything is cooked and warm and slightly browned and crispy. It's like a hash of sorts.
Remove squash from the oven, discard the seeds and leave the flesh. Pile the wild rice and vegetable hash into each squash, packing it tightly inside.
Cover the wild rice mixture with the squash top and place back into the oven to bake until everything is very soft and browned.
Serve warm, placing both whole squashes on the table, then cutting them in halves or quarters right there for the loveliest presentation.
Recipe//Photography: Jenny Nelson