Wild rice is amazing. It’s unusual. It’s sexy. And when you mix it with some cranberries, almonds, and candied orange peels, and bake it to perfection inside the hull of a butternut squash…. its even hotter. Using the candied orange peels makes it taste very similar to a sweet Persian rice dish, Shirin Polov. You can call me if you want, but when I’m eating this… I’m not gonna reach my telephone. Oh, did I mention that this is fully vegetarian, totally healthy, and 100% delicious? PS thank you Mom for coming up with this deliciousness :)
2 cups wild rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup brown basmati rice, cooked to package directions
1/3 cup dry cranberries
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp candied orange peels, chopped (or fresh orange zest)
1 orange, juiced
1 small white onion, chopped
3-4 butternut squash bottoms, seeds removed
To make the candied orange peels, simply dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water in a saucepan over medium heat. Using a vegetable peeler, peel away only the orange portion of the skin of the orange, leaving behind the white bitter pith. Add the peels to the sugar and water, and the juice of 1/2 of this orange. Cook for about 20-30 min, until the syrup reduces. Take the orange peels out of the syrup and lay on a plate lined with plastic wrap so they can dry and cool. Use the syrup to flavor iced tea, coffee, or anything else you like.
Finely chop the onion, and saute in a little olive oil for a few minutes on medium heat, just until the onions begin to slightly brown around the edges.
Combine the rice, onions (with a litte of the oil but not all), cranberries, almonds, orange peel (or zest), and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and mix to combine.
Season the butternut squash bottoms with salt and pepper. Stuff them with the rice mixture, and place into a baking sheet. Pour 1/2 inch of water into the baking dish, and cover the dish with foil. Bake at 375F for 45min, until the squash is tender and cooked through, and then remove the foil for 10-15 min so the rice and squash can brown.
Serves 6 at 1/2 a squash each.