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!"