Wild Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium butternut squash (2 lbs each)                

  • 3 Tbsp dried unsweetened cherries

  • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar                                    

  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley (for garnish)

  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup                                               

  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil                                                      

  • 1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

  • salt and black pepper to taste

  • 1 small onion chopped

  • 1/2 cup wild rice

  • 1/2 tsp mild curry powder

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, and 2 Tbsp oil.  Brush the flesh side of squash halves maple-oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and dash of pepper.  Put squash flesh side down in baking dish, brush skin side with maple oil mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and dash of pepper.  Roast in oven until squash is fork tender, 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool, then scoop enough flesh out to leave a 1/4 in. border of flesh all around.  Leave scooped out flesh in relatively large chunks. 
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown. Add the rice, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and 1/2 tsp salt, and stir until the spices are toasted, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 30-40 minutes (add more water if needed). Remove from heat and add to the chunks of butternut squash along with the remaining maple-oil, cherries, parsley, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  4. Evenly stuff the scooped-out squash halves with the filling, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and bake, uncovered, until the filling is warmed through, about 30 minutes. Cut each in half crosswise and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with walnuts and parsley. Serve warm.