Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Basmati and Wild Rice over Acorn Squash with Braised Vegetables

Sometimes I'm just amazed at the endless possibilities in cooking. Just thinking about all the herbs, vegetables, grains, fruits and spices I have never even heard of all over the world and the combinations you can come up with... wow! What an amazing and creative God! This is one of those rare recipes I have tried that is just bursting with flavor and texture. It's got sweetness from the squash, earthy and savory spices from the vegetables and rice and the tart cranberry sauce is a perfect addition. This recipe was fun to put together and really impressive to serve to others. This recipe is from Vegetarian Times magazine. I served it with bread and butter. 

Basmati and Wild Rice over Acorn Squash with Braised Vegetables
  **Serves 8**

Acorn Squash
  1 T. olive oil
  1 t. maple syrup
  1 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  2 medium acorn squash, quartered and seeded

Basmati and Wild Rice
1/4 C. pine nuts
1.5 C. basmati-wild rice mix, such as Lundberg Farms
  1 T. olive oil
  1 small red onion, diced
  2 garlic cloves, minced

Braised Vegetables
  2 T. olive oil
  1 head fennel, cut into chunks (1.5 cups)
  2 C. baby carrots
  2 C. sugar snap peas
  1 T. capers, drained
1/3 C. fresh parsley, chopped
    cranberry sauce for garnish, optional

To make Acorn Squash: Preheat oven 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, cinnamon, and 2 Tbs. water in small bowl. Brush inside and edges of acorn squash wedges; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is soft enough to prick with tip of knife. Keep warm.

To make Basmati and Wild Rice: Toast pine nuts in small skillet over medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and fragrant, shaking pan often. Set aside. Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in rice and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

To make Braised Vegetables: Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté fennel in oil 10 minutes, or until softened. Add carrots, and sauté 5 minutes more, or until carrots begin to brown. Add 2 cups water, cover, and steam vegetables 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft. Add snap peas, and steam 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in capers.

To serve: Place 1 Acorn Squash wedge on each plate. Spoon Basmati and Wild Rice into center of each squash quarter, and top with Braised Vegetables. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and add a dollop of cranberry sauce, if desired.
 A few changes that I made: well first of all I used a different kind of squash. I looked at this website and still can't figure out which one I used haha. But Acorn would be amazing as well. For the rice I actually used an Archer Farms "wild rice" and mixed it with short grain brown rice. Instead of fennel I used turnips and parsnips. I also used regular carrots and cut all the vegetables in sticks. I used edamame instead of sugar snap peas and I omitted capers because I don't like them. I encourage you to make the recipe yours. Be creative! Also I served each plate with a generous portion of cranberry sauce since we are all quite fond of it! 

I sure can't wait to start cooking with some Christmas tunes. I'm ready! 

Chef Teebs

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