Leslie Meredith's holiday recipes

Stuffed Squash With Wild Rice, Kale, Cranberries And Pecans

1 cup wild rice, rinsed

1 teaspoon salt

1 orange, zested and juiced

3 large or 6 small acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed and reserved for roasting

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons maple syrup

½ cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cups kale, destemmed and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Add salt and orange juice to enough water to equal 4 cups. Add rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to and simmer, covered, for 45-60 minutes. Once grains begin to split open, taste rice. Stop cooking once the texture is soft but still chewy and drain. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash, cut side down, in a large roasting pan filled with ½ inch water. While squash cooks, whisk vinegar, 2 tablespoons of oil and maple syrup in a small bowl to make a simple dressing. After baking for 30 minutes, flip squash and brush the cut sides with the dressing. Reserve extra mixture, return squash to oven and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until flesh is tender.

Heat remaining oil in a skillet on medium heat and cook onion for 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add kale and sage and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until the kale wilts and turns a bright green. Stir in the cooked rice, orange zest, pecans and cranberries. Add reserved dressing mixture and mix well.

Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Spoon stuffing into squash halves and return to oven to bake for another 25 minutes. Top with ground pepper and serve.

Serves 6

Spiced Roasted Squash Seeds

Reserved squash seeds

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse seeds to remove residual squash and pat dry with a towel. Toss with remaining ingredients and spread in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning a couple of times, until light golden brown.

You can use most any kind of squash for making Stuffed Squash With Wild Rice, Kale, Cranberries And Pecans. Courtesy of Leslie Meredith
You can snack on the roasted seeds while cooking. Courtesy of Leslie Meredith
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