Up until recently, I was a pretty reluctant squash eater.
Butternut squash? Too difficult to cut, and way too sweet for my liking. Conclusion: savory foods should not taste sweet.
I tried it in two different recipes, the first being a gratin in Deborah Madison's lovely Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I hated it, but gave the poor squash another chance when my mom recommended a butternut and apple soup. I just about gagged and threw the whole thing away. That says a lot because I don't like to waste.
I doomed winter squash evil, and asked myself why people had to eat such hardy food in the wintertime. Why couldn't we just eat summer food all year round?
But ever since I've become very serious about eating local and in season, I realized winter squash is something I just have to accept as a fact of life. So why not make it good?
I've made about three thousand different stuffed squash recipes by now, and this one is by far my favorite. OK, I exaggerate. I've made maybe ten. And this squash is so good, it should definitely be a part of your Thanksgiving celebration. But it's only November, and although I admit to liking the poor vegetables a bit better now than before, I will say it feels like it's gonna be a long winter… if you know what I mean.
Roasted acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, dried cranberries, and feta
Serves 2-4 depending on how hungry you are!
2 medium acorn squash
6 oz box Near East wild rice mix
⅓ cup dried cranberries
½ cup good feta, crumbled
½ cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 375F with rack in the center. Place the two acorn squash on a baking sheet (I find lining it with a silicone mat or parchment makes for easy cleanup). Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until fork-tender. Cut squash in half (either way) and scoop out seeds and membrane; discard.
Meanwhile, prepare the box of rice according to package instructions. This usually takes about 30-35 minutes.
Add the cranberries, feta, and nuts to the cooked rice. Mix well and serve in the wells of the acorn squash.