Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Charleston Gold Rice Pirlau
Entertaining a wide range of hungry eaters this holiday season? This recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Charleston Gold Rice Pirlau is going to be the buffet equivalent of your LBD.
The pirlau (aka, pilaf) combines two kinds of rice, leeks, mushrooms, TSC Alum Schermer Pecans, cranberries, and sage, which make it hearty enough to be a meatless main dish. Another option is to serve it as a side dish alongside your centerpiece turkey or roast. The recipe can easily be modified depending on your crowd, too. Hosting vegans? Just omit the Parmesan cheese. Have a Paleo eater in the crowd? Swap the Charleston Gold rice for another whole grain like brown rice, farro or barley. Gluten free? Simply get rid of the Panko breadcrumbs.
If you can find little baby acorn squash, you should grab. them. ALL! I found these little beauties at our local Whole Foods market in a variety of shapes and colors. If you can’t find baby squash, you can use regular size acorn squash. You just might need to halve them from top to bottom to make the container for the rice.
Or, you can get a giant Kabocha squash and use that as the serving vessel. The squash make such a cute and decorative edible container for the rice pirlau and add instant décor to your buffet. You can serve them warm or at room temperature, another entertaining bonus.
Charleston Gold rice, from TSC alum Food for the Southern Soul, is a short grain rice, similar to an Arborio. So it is quite starchy when cooked, which makes for more of a creamy risotto texture. I like to pair it with black rice for a dramatic color contrast.
I’m always going for different textures in my recipes, so I like to garnish the stuffed acorn squash with fried onions. It’s kind of like a homage to the French’s fried onions you put on top of green bean casserole. You could certainly use those, or even fry your own, but I like to use these jarred Fried Onions I get from the Asian market. They are real onions that are perfectly golden brown and crispy. It’s the perfect garnish to this hearty Fall dish.
So as you plan your holiday menus, I hope you will add this to the list. I promise that no one will leave your house hungry!
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 4 baby or 2 large acorn squash
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small leek, white and pale green parts only cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and diced
- 1/2 cup Charleston Gold rice (we like Food for the Southern Soul brand)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup arugula
- 1/2 cup Schermer Pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup black or wild rice, cooked
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons fried onions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice a small amount off the bottom of the acorn squash just so they stand up, being careful to not cut into the center cavity. Then slice the top off, and scoop out the seeds.
- Place acorn squash on a foil-lined sheet pan then drizzle all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put the tops back on the squash.
- Roast squash in preheated oven until tender, but still holding their shape, about 30 minutes for small acorn squash to up to one hour for large acorn squash.
- Meanwhile, heat a shallow straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the leek to the pan. Saute until softened and just starting to brown.
- Next, add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are starting to brown.
- Then add the Charleston Gold rice to the pan and stir to combine well. Let the rice toast in the pan for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the stock and stir again. Lower the heat and cook until the rice is tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- When the rice is done, uncover the pan. Immediately toss in the arugula and stir to wilt.
- Add the pecans, cranberries, sage and cooked black rice, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Next, combine the Parmesan cheese and panko in a small bowl.
- When the acorn squash is tender, remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- While they are cooling, set the oven to broil.
- Carefully mound the rice mixture into the cavities of the acorn squash and top with the Parmesan mixture. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbling.
- Finally, remove from broiler and garnish with the fried onions.
What’s your favorite Fall entertaining recipe? Share with us in the comments!