Baked Pumpkins or Squashes with Wild Rice Stuffing

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 1 1/2 hours (may be done in 2 stages)

Serves:6-8

Delicata or dumpling squashes work beautifully for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 small or 2 large pumpkins or squashes
  • 1/4 cup white wine or vegetable stock
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced, half set aside
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 1/2 cups water, wine, stock, or any combination
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 3/4 cup wild rice
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp or to taste tamari (optional)
  • 1 tbsp or to taste miso paste (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

With a sharp knife, cut lid off the top of each pumpkin. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers. Set a square of foil over the opening on top of the pumpkin and set the lid on top of the foil (the foil is to keep the lid from falling back into the pumpkins). Place prepared pumpkins in a baking pan filled with about 1/2 inch of water and bake until the insides are tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your pumpkins. Remove from the oven and keep warm, or refrigerate overnight-you can do this step the day before.

While the pumpkins are baking prepare the rice. In a large saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup of stock or wine over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, half the diced celery, zucchini, and garlic, and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the water, wine or stock, brown and wild rice, parsley, pepper, sage and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and stir in the currants, apricots, second half of raw diced celery, tamari and miso (taste the stuffing before adding tamari and miso to determine how much you'd like to add). Set aside until the pumpkins are done. You can do this the day before.

When the pumpkins are finished baking, discard the foil; spoon the hot rice mixture into the pumpkins and cover with the lids and serve. If you're making one big pumpkin (instead of individual ones), be sure to scoop out some of the inside of the pumpkin along with the rice stuffing for each serving. If you're making things the day before, then stuff the cold stuffing into the cold pumpkins and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until hot and puffy.

Hint:
1. Wine or water is better than stock in this recipe. Stock can mask the flavor of the rice and miso, and if your stock is salty, then you won't be able to use the miso-and it adds a nice creaminess.

2. You can add 1 cup of sliced mushrooms (any kind) to the beginning, to saute with the carrots and onion. You may also enjoy 1 cup raw, fresh, whole cranberries.

3. You can add 1 cup of chopped water chestnuts instead of the raw celery at the end.

4. 1 small apple, finely diced, is very nice added at the end, as is 1/4 cup dried cranberries.

5. You can add cooked white beans for extra richness and body. They will partially break up as you stir them into the stuffing (at the end of the cooking time), and that will create a nice creaminess. You can also add whole roast garlic cloves for the same creaminess and added flavor.