I created this dish in late summer for a cooking class featuring end of the season harvest. Working with the farmers market and my go-to farmer, she had what seemed like endless poblano peppers, and zucchini. Turns out I really like poblano peppers. My expectation was that they would carry some heat but are a mild flavorful pepper. So much better than the standard green bell pepper.
Now that we are in Fall with Thanksgiving looming ahead, I swapped out the zucchini and poblanos for Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Think of this recipe as a base to use seasonal vegetables or just what you prefer. Each stuffed acorn squash is perfect as a side dish or serving two halves as a main course. For a hardier dish, stir in a half-pound of fresh ground sausage meat, cooking it along with the vegetables before filling the squash halves.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Caramelized Vegetables & Rice
2 cups brown rice, uncooked
3 small acorn squash or 2 large
3 tablespoons oil, divided
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 medium onion, diced to equal 1 cup
baby bella brown or white button mushrooms, sliced to equal 1 cup
Brussel sprouts, sliced to equal 1 cup
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons vegetable stock
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese
black pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil. Cut each squash in half horizontally. Using a large spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Using 1 tablespoon of oil, evenly rub over the cavity and outside of each half squash. Sprinkle the cavities using ½ teaspoon of salt. Place cut-side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, flip each squash over with cut-side up. Continue roasting for about 5-10 additional minutes. The squash should be fork tender but still holding their shape. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Working with a large skillet over medium-high heat, add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add in the chopped onion and sliced mushrooms, along with ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir, cooking until the vegetables begin to soften. Add in the sliced Brussel sprouts and the garlic, continue cooking and stirring until the vegetables are soft and begin to brown.
Measure out 3 cups of cooked rice. Add to the skillet with the vegetables along with the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir and cook together for 1 minute. Add in the dried cranberries and vegetable stock stirring to combine. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cheddar cheese and black pepper.
Divide the rice mixture evenly among the squash halves. Return the sheet tray to the oven, heating for about 10-12 minutes until warmed through and lightly browned. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
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