|Wild Rice, Chestnut and Pecan Stuffed Squash
3 1/4 cups (840 ml) water
1 cup (240 ml) wild rice
1 teaspoon salt
4 or 5 small squashes (sugar pumpkins, acorn, small butternut, delicata, sweet dumpling)
Organic canola oil, as needed
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound (225g) fresh chestnuts or 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) cooked peeled chestnut pieces
4 slices whole grain bread
1/2 pound (225g) button or crimini mushrooms, chopped
2/3 cup (160 ml) coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (Gas Mark 6) and have ready 1 or 2 baking sheets. Combine 3 cups (720 ml) of the water, the wild rice, and salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
Wash the squashes, cut them in half with a firm chef's knife, scoop out the seeds, and brush the cavities with canola oil. Arrange the squashes on the baking sheets, cut side down, and bake them for 30 minutes.
To make the stuffing, combine the celery, onion, remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) water, garlic, and olive oil in a large skillet. Cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft and transparent. Transfer to a large bowl along with the chestnuts.
Toast the bread until bread it is dry. Cut it into small cubes and add them to bowl with chestnuts.
Add the cooked wild rice, mushroom, pecans, salt, thyme, oregano, poultry seasoning, and pepper and mix well. Adjust the seasonings if needed.
Remove the squashes from the oven and generously fill the cavities with the stuffing. Cover the baking sheets with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and return the squashes to the oven for 30 minutes longer or until tender when pierced with a fork.
To serve, cut each squash in half and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Notes: If using fresh chestnuts, make a crisscross cut in each chestnut. Boil the chestnuts in water to cover for 20 minutes. Peel them with a sharp paring knife while the chestnuts are still warm, removing the inner brown skin as well.
Extra stuffing can be put into a covered casserole dish and baked at 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes. Yield: 8 to 10 servings. - http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch311.html