Stuffing and baking winter squash is a fabulous way to enjoy this sweet, starchy vegetable (especially when they're in season and coming in fast and furious from your garden, piled up high at the market, or filling up your CSA box). The bit of dried mushroom brings incredible flavor to this stuffed winter squash. The deep savory flavor of the stuffing is divine with the sweetness of winter squash. If you can find a kabocha squash, its floury texture is particularly good for this recipe; blue hokkaid and red kuri squash are other excellent options. Everyday acorn squash or sweet "cheese" pumpkin work very nicely too.
Add a note of sweetness with 1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries, if you like.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 oz. dried mushrooms (porcini and/or shiitake are particularly good)
- 2 Tbsp. butter of olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large winter squash or 2 smaller acorn squash
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or vegetable broth
- Preheat an oven to 375°F. While it heats, rehydrate the mushrooms by pouring about 1 cup of boiling water over them (I put the mushrooms in a measuring cup, fill it, and let them sit there for easy pouring later). Let the mushrooms sit about 15 minutes, lift them out of the water (reserve the water), chop them, and set them aside.
- Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large frying pan or sauté pan over medium high heat. Chop the onion and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Mince the garlic and stir it in to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and crumble in the thyme leaves, stir to combine; stir in the wild rice and set aside.
- Lay the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until gently toasted, 8 to 10 minutes (watch them carefully, they tend to burn!). Let cool for a minute before stirring them into the wild rice mixture. Taste the stuffing and salt to taste, if needed. Add plenty of black pepper to taste.
- While the walnuts roast, prepare the squash by cutting out the top and scooping out the seeds (be sure to save the seeds and roast them!). If using acorn squash, simply halve them and scoop out the seeds.
- Put the stuffing in the squash and pour in the cream or stock.
- Set the squash on a baking sheet and bake until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm.