Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recipe: Pecan, Cranberry and Wild Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Pecan, Cranberry and Wild Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Pecan, Cranberry and Wild Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash
This 'earthy fall harvest' has a mellow sweet flavor that's nutrient dense and perfect for the holidays.

Healthy benefits
Acorn squash is rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds. Regularly eating potassium- and magnesium-rich foods like acorn squash can lessen your chance of stroke, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes.

Wild rice is slightly higher in protein than most other whole grains, and is a good source of fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, Vitamin B6, and niacin.

In addition to its anti-cancer properties, cranberries may also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, inhibiting LDL oxidation (one of the first steps in the progression of coronary artery disease), lowering blood pressure and inhibiting the formation of blood clots.

Gaining in popularity, kale is an amazing vegetable being recognized for its exceptional nutrient richness, health benefits, and delicious flavor. Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Ingredients 661 calories per serving (serves 2) 
2 acorn squash
2/3 cup uncooked wild rice
3 tbs fresh sage
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 celery stalks, minced
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 kale leaves, rinsed and chopped with stems removed
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
- Heat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut squash from stem to tip. Remove the seeds and place cut-side down on baking sheet. Use a sheet of aluminum foil on pan (makes for easier cleanup). Add 1/4 cup of water to pan. Bake 30 minutes. Let it cool. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.

In medium saucepan:
- Cook the wild rice in water
- Finely chop the sage and parsley

In a small sauté pan (sauté mixture):
- Using little water (not oil) sauté celery, onion and sage over medium heat until softened
- Stir in parsley, marjoram, pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper
- Add kale at last minute to retain its brilliant color and nutrients
- Remove from heat

When squash halves are cool:
- Use spoon to scoop out the flesh leaving a little all around. 

In a large bowl:
- Mash the acorn flesh coarsely
- Select 10 intact pecan halves for top garnish (set aside for last step), grind the rest
- Select 8 cranberries for the top garnish (set aside for last step), add the rest 
- Add wild rice 
- Add sauté mixture  

Stuff the Squash:
- Stuff the mixture into the squash shells
- Artfully place the pecan halves and cranberries on top

- Bake for 30 minutes and serve inside the acorn shell

Note to vegan chef
This was the first time I used sage as an ingredient. It really is an interesting and earthy herb. I'll be looking to include it in other recipes. Quinoa, buckwheat or millet would also be good grain substitutes.

Recipe inspired (yet modified) from The Whole Grains Cookbook by Robin Asbell, p76.

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