Cold weather and Comfort Food...........

We almost got frost in Iowa yesterday so its time to break out the comfort food. I have a rule here at Miss Eff's. The furnace does not go on until November 1st. The wood stove gets a good work out. We break out the sweaters and the blankets and the wool socks. And lots of comfort food is on the plate.

(Truth be known ..... I almost always wimp out and the furnace goes on before November 1st!!! But it is a good thought!)

So -- its time for a new- inexpensive - healthy supper for us all. I found no name for this so it will be Wild Rice Stuffed Squash.

We were given what I think was a Buttercup squash. So I used what we had -- next time, it will be an acorn squash.

First slice the squash in half, clean the seeds out, and put a little butter and salt and pepper into the squash. Bake at 350 degrees until the squash is tender and a fork easily pierces it.

Then work on the filling.

I LOVE wild rice. I don't care what you put it in -- I will devour it instantly. You can use a brown rice-wild rice mix or a long grain rice -wild rice mix. But I really like using whole unbroken wild rice. It is a little expensive but it is so delicious and you use so little, it is worth it. You can substitute plain brown rice too but it will lose a lot of its flavor.

Rinse 1/2-3/4 cup of wild rice in cold water and cook according to instructions. Often it takes about 45 minutes to become tender. Then rinse again and drain.

In the meantime, brown 1 lb of ground beef in a skillet. (Next time, I will use ground bison)

Add 1/2 of an onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
4 oz of mushrooms, chopped

And saute till tender. Simmer on the stove, making sure it doesn't burn. Depending on the fat content of your beef .... you may need to add a dash of olive oil.

At this point, I made a typical white sauce, using 3 TBSP of butter, 3 TBSP of flour and 1-1/2 cups of milk.

I stirred the white sauce into the meat mixture, stirred in the drained and rinsed wild rice and tossed in a hand-full of dried cranberries.... maybe 1/3 cup. I added some all-purpose seasoning that I get from Frontier Seasoning. Then some salt and pepper to taste.

I then spooned the rice/beef/cranberry mixture into the fully baked acorn squash boats and baked it in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Just enough to make the top brown.

It was hearty and healthy and really good. This should fill 2-3 whole acorn squash. It would have filled 3 buttercup squash halves and they are much bigger than most acorn squash.

For my vegetarian friends.... I think you could do this easily with a mixture of brown rice and wild rice. You might need a little more white sauce.

Inspiration for this dish came from a PBS show called Seasoned with Spirit. This seems to be a Native American dish from northern Minnesota that is made to celebrate the first rice ....... the first harvest of the wild rice. I did some changes to it -- they use buffalo meat and don't have anything to bind it.

But it was delicious and warm and definitely a "do-over!"


Anonymous said…
Miss Effie - can you alter the recipe to be lower fat? What might be good substitutes for the butter? ME
Theresa said…
Oh YUM! I'm going to give this a whirl tonight!
Catherine said…
ack...we caved and turned the furnace on damp and cold. Usually I try to tough it out until Thanksgiving Day...does this mean another vicious winter out here in the Middle?
hiccupp said…
THAT looks good. And I don't even like mushrooms ;) I happen to have a cooked, untouched acorn squash in my fridge too..hmm...:)

As for the heat...I'm wearing a tank top, a tshirt, a long sleeved shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, a scarf....footless tights, sweatpants, and 2 pairs of socks.

BUT...the heat isn't on yet! Its still 60 degrees in the house, and since it looks 'warmish' in a couple of days, I'm TRYING to make it without. I had told myself November 1st too...then this weekend came along, and its an hour by hour willpower struggle ;)

And my only handknit socks...suck :( very sad about them right now. Rice with a white sauce would make me feel better ;)
clink said…
OK -- Just to set the record straight, I caved in last night. It was a damp 56 degrees downstairs. Upstairs doesn't get the benefit of newer storm windows or the oven running 24/7.

The furnace is on.

ME -- could you make a white sauce JoAnna Lund style? That has no fat in it. I think if you google Healthy Exchanges, you will find it. Or I'll try to find it online. I "think" it is milk and some flour shaken together with no additional fat. I'll see if I can find it and I will post it.
Carol said…
I make white sauce with 1 tbsp. cornstarch per 1 cup milk, and I use skim if I have it. I don't think it changes the recipe that much because you have other flavors, so you don't miss the butter. I have done this for years and don't miss the butter. I start by adding a small amount of milk to the cornstarch and mix well, then add the rest of the milk.
Anonymous said…
I was inspired by this recipe, too. I made something similar last night, but the stuffing was not really the same at all. haha. I'm writing a blog post about it with a link back to you, just so you know.

Anyway, I found your site from Antiquity Oaks and this is the first time I commented. :)

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