Before I get too excited for Christmas, I mustn't forget that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I still haven't quite adjusted to the whole American Thanksgiving being so close to Christmas. I keep reminding myself that it is only less than 2 weeks away. I'm not sure what my plans are this year. Maybe I'll have a few friends over and prepare some good food. Brussels sprouts with butter, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato, rolls, and a Tofurkey to boot. I've been trying to experiment with some new vegetarian options. I saw of few examples online of squash stuffed with various fixings. A couple of days ago, I went to the store and purchased all of my favorite Thanksgiving flavors: thyme, sage, cranberry, and apple. I combined them all into a delicious stuffing recipe, and then created a little Thanksgiving dinner boat. I added some wild rice, which is otherwise known as Canadian rice, bread and veggie sausage, with butter, thyme and sage. I filled the squash boats, overflowing with stuffing, and then baked in the oven for 45 minutes. Later, drizzled with gravy, these single serving Thanksgiving boats are perfect if you're craving Thanksgiving dinner just a few weeks early. And if you have a vegetarian guest attending this year, they will be truly thankful for the hearty and satisfying veggie option you've prepared.
ACORN SQUASH BOATS FILLED WITH WILD RICE AND STUFFING RECIPE (print) makes 4 acorn squash halvesnotes: If you have a favorite stuffing recipe, feel free to use that instead, and then follow these directions for baking the squash. This recipe can be prepared easily on Thanksgiving day by adding stuffing and a few other favorite items to the squash boats and then baking.
INGREDIENTS1 cup wild rice, dry2 cups bread, cubed2 acorn squash, seeds removed and halved2 tbsp butter + 3 for frying4 tsp brown sugar1/2 cup cranberries, soaked in hot water1 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped4 veggies sausages , chopped1/4 sweet onion, diced6 sage leaves, chopped5 - 7 sprigs thyme1/2 - 1 cup veggie broth1 apple, peeled and dicedsalt and pepper to taste
GRAVY INGREDIENTS4 tbsp butter4 tbsp all purpose flour2 cups veggies broth
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a rice cooker or stovetop, cook the rice as per directions on package. Should take anywhere from 30 - 40 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set to the side.
Tear the bread with your hands into 1 inch cubes, enough to fill 2 cups. Scatter the bread onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set to the side to cool.
Turn the oven up to 425ºF.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and guts. Place 1/2 tbsp of butter and 1 tsp of brown sugar in each squash well. Wrap the squash in tin foil and place in the oven, cut side facing up. Bake for 30 minutes.
While the squash is baking, boil some water in the kettle. Place the dried cranberries in a boil and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes, then drain and set to the side.
In a large frying pan, fry the chopped mushrooms on low heat. Do not add any oil, water, or butter. Fry them dry, to release the intensely wonderful flavors. Once they are lightly browned, remove them and set to the side.
Fry the veggie sausage, chopped onions, sage, and thyme with 3 tbsp butter, until the onions are light brown in color. Add the cubed bread and continue to fry until the bread starts to turn golden. Add the cranberries and chopped apples, and mushrooms. Slowly add the veggie stock starting with 1/4 cup at a time until the bread absorbs the liquid. Once the stuffing is moist, it is done. Season with salt and pepper.
After the squash has been cooking for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and unwrap from the tinfoil. Fill each squash half with a generous amount of the filling. Place the squash uncovered onto a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the squash is soft and the filling has turned golden on top. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the squash is cooling, using the same frying pan. Place 4 tbsp butter and 4 tbsp all purpose flour into the frying pan, and fry until the butter starts to foam. Add the 2 cups of veggie stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until thick.
Drizzle the gravy on top of the squash and serve.