Acorn Squash Stuffed with Rice, Leeks and Spinach
Welcome to 2021 and a new year of preparing delicious and easy meals. We're starting off the New Year with a great recipe that is super easy, healthy and very tasty. So Come into the kitchen with me and let's get started.
Begin with an acorn squash. Because you want the squash to sit flat on your plate you want to slice a thin portion from the bottom of the squash to ensure it will lie flat. You want to remove the stem from the other side of the squash and that should ensure that it sits level. Then cut the squash through the center creating two halves.
Next, take a spoon and scoop the seeds and fibers out of each of the halves until the bowl of each half is cleaned out.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil (approximate) into the bowl of each half of your squash. With a brush distribute the oil evenly up the sides and the top of the squash. Season each half with salt and pepper. Then, on a foil covered rimmed cookie sheet, flip the squash face down and place in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 30 to 36 minutes. Check the squash at about 30 minutes to test for doneness.
Squash is done when a fork is easily inserted into the thickest portion of the squash.
Turn squash right side up and center in a bowl in preparation for filling.
You will need:
1 cup rice
Pinch of Salt
1 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
1 teaspoon or less of vegetable oil
5 ounces of fresh spinach
1 tsp olive oil
4 tablespoons Feta Cheese Crumbles
While the squash is cooking add vegetable oil to the rice pan...enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil to about medium and add one cup of rice to the pan. Stir the rice in the pan until the grains of rice are coated with the oil. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water to the rice. Add a pinch of salt to the rice mixture. Cover and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to low until liquid is absorbed by the rice. This should take 15 - 20 minutes.
Take one leek. Remove the dark green part and the outer layers of the leek. Slice the leek down the center lengthwise and rinse under running water removing any sand between the layers. Chop the leek into small slices.
Place about I/2 of a 10 oz. package of spinach in a colander. Rinse and spin dry.
Over medium low heat add enough olive oil to the pan to cover the bottom. Allow oil to heat then add leeks to the pan. Cook for several minutes, stirring to prevent browning, until leeks have softened. Add spinach to the pan and allow spinach to wilt. Use tongs to turn spinach and mix it with the leeks. Set aside on stove top.
When rice is done (all the liquid is absorbed) add about 4 tablespoons of Feta Cheese crumbles (or more) to the rice and stir in allowing the cheese to melt. Add spinach mixture to the rice and cheese and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. We don't usually add any more as the cheese is already salty.
The squash has nicely browned edges. You can have it browned a lot or just lightly browned depending on how you like the squash. Fill the cavity of the squash with the rice mixture and serve. This is a quick and easy dinner that is also tasty and healthy.
You can add your own touches to the meal by incorporating different herbs for a variation in flavor. I sometimes use rosemary or thyme with this dish. I add the herbs to the rice at the same time I add the vegetable stock. You can also sprinkle the squash with additional herbs prior to inverting it on the cookie sheet for baking.
Additionally, you can substitute red or green pepper for the spinach or in addition to the spinach, if that's what you have in the fridge.
We generally use a spoon rather than a fork to eat this dish.