For sure, our Thanksgiving menu will include tried and true family favorites, but I always like to add at least a few new recipes to the mix. In the weeks before our home holiday celebrations, I read cooking blogs and search through my own great library of cookbooks with the hope that I’ll find something new to add to our feast. Tonight was one of those nights.
One of my favorite cookbooks is called The Real Food Daily cookbook. Last February, I had the good fortune to dine at two different Los Angeles, California locations of the restaurant from which this cookbook sprung. It has a mostly vegan menu and a huge variety of dishes to order. I’ll be certain to set foot in there again when we next visit LA. I loved it.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, tonight I made a variation of one of the recipes from this cookbook. The picture above is the rice stuffing part of the dish. Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for it (for some odd reason) and so I didn’t take a picture of it before digging in. Whoa, I should’ve grabbed my camera and taken a picture after I stuffed the rice into the acorn squash halves and before I ate it.
But alas, I can only share a picture of the rice stuffing with you. Actually, the rice part of the recipe would be fine totally on its’ own, without stuffing it into anything. But spooning it into the cavity of a roasted (or microwaved) squash definitely adds a touch of elegance to the presentation.
I don’t have my Thanksgiving menu completely planned yet, though I have lots of ideas. Come back later this week – I hope to post our feast menu for your reading pleasure.
Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash
adapted from The Real Food Daily cookbook
4 small acorn squash (each about 12 – 14 oz.), halved and seeded
3 tbsp canola oil
Freshly ground pepper
Water for cooking the rice (the amount will be determined by your cooking method)
2 cups uncooked short-grain brown rice, rinsed well
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 – 2 tsp dried oregano
1 – 2 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp wheat-free tamari
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Roast or microwave the acorn squash halves.
If roasting (as in original recipe), preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a very thin slice off the rounded side of the squash halves to help them stand firmly on the plates. This way they won’t topple over. After cutting the squashes in half and removing the seeds and pulp, brush the inside of the squashes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash bowls, hollow side up, on a large, heavy baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the flesh is just tender. Keep the squash warm.
If microwaving (my adaptation), repeat preparations as above. After brushing with remaining two tablespoons of oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper, arrange the squash bowls in a microwaveable dish, add a couple of teaspoons of water, cover the dish and microwave. Each microwave is different, so you’ll have to experiment. I microwaved the two halves on high for about 4 minutes and they were finished.
For the rice, I would highly recommend cooking it in a rice cooker, in which case adjust the amount of water to the instructions for your particular rice cooker. Tonight, I made the rice in a pressure cooker on the stove, per the recipe. I wasn’t too thrilled with the results – I had to bring the pot back up to pressure twice in order for the rice to be finished. Next time, I will definitely make is in my rice cooker. I just didn’t have time tonight, so I used the pressure cooker.
While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, oregano and basil. Saute for 12 minutes or until soft. Stir in the wheat-free tamari, then the raisins. Stir in the cooked rice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the rice mixture among the hot baked squash. Sprinkle the pepitas over the stuffing and serve.
The stuffed squash will keep for one day, covered and refrigerated.
Note: the original recipe called for fresh basil in addition to dried oregano. I omitted the basil and used dried basil in addition to dried oregano. It also called for currants – I used golden raisins instead.
One dish down, a whole bunch more to go!!!! What are you serving for Thanksgiving?