Acorn Squash stuffed with Chard & Rice
With a return of cold wintry weather here, it was time to use those two acorn squash that have been looking pretty in their wicker basket for several weeks. And it's my first contribution to Sweetnicks ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday (ARF=Antioxidant Rich Food). I've had two wonderful versions of stuffed acorn squash: one at a pot luck where they were filled with a rice/nut mixture and one from the deli at Whole Foods with spinach and goat cheese.
I decided to do a rice and chard version with gruyere, all items I had on hand, but ended up switching the gruyere to Parmesan. I made the change because my rice and chard mixture, despite the green garlic and leeks, was a little bland. I greatly improved and enhanced the flavors by adding a small amount of three cheese tomato pasta sauce (from Trader Joe's). With the red sauce, Parmesan was the natural partner.
I baked/steamed the acorn squash. Mine were the perfect texture, but hubby's was tough and fibrous. He loved the filling though. I would have topped these with crushed hazelnuts rather than the breadcrumbs, but hubby is weird about nut toppings, so I used breadcrumbs instead.
Here's the recipe:
2 acorn squash, cut in half from top to bottom, seeds and stringy bits removed
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
1 green garlic, chopped or 1 garlic clove, minced
1 bunch chard leaves, stems removed, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/3 cup cheesy tomato pasta sauce
Preheat oven to 375. Fill a shallow dish, large enough to hold your halved acorn squash, with 1/4 inch water. Place the cleaned acorn squash cut side down in the dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Remove from dish and dot inside with butter. Remove water from shallow dish and place the acorn squash cut side up and bake an additional 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a skillet and gently cook the leek and garlic until soft (5-8 minutes). Add the chard leaves and cook until the chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked rice and the tomato sauce and mix until well combined.
Fill the acorn squash with the rice mixture. Top with the Parmesan, breadcrumbs and a drop or two of lemon juice. Place under the broiler until the topping is golden brown (3-4 minutes).