A Feast of Cranberries: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cranberry Wild Rice

This dish is not only healthy but makes an exciting presentation on your holiday table.

| November/December 1999

 Serves 4 

The tart fruits lacing the rice come as a surprise. If you prefer them sweeter, read the instructions at the end before you prepare the dish.

• 1 cup uncooked wild rice
• 3 cups or more water
• 1/2 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
• 2 large acorn squash
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts
• 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, preferably flat-leaf type
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh spearmint or other sweet mint, optional
• 1 teaspoon to 11/2 tablespoons sugar
• Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Rinse the rice, then simmer with the water in a large saucepan set over a moderate flame. Cook until tender—most of the grains will have split (about 40 to 60 ­minutes). Add extra water as needed to prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.

2. Sprinkle the cranberries over the rice and continue simmering until the berries pop, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain off any excess water after the rice is cooked, and set aside.

3. While the rice cooks, cut the squash into halves, slicing from tip to stem end. Scoop out and discard the seeds and center fibers. Rub the cavities with 1 tablespoon of the oil and set the halves (cut side up) in a microwave-proof dish. Microwave on high until the squash can barely be pierced with a fork (about 7 to 10 minutes). Remove and pierce the flesh of each piece several times with a fork, being careful not to puncture the skin.

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