Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apple, Cherry and Wild Rice Stuffing

Makes 8 servings

4 acorn squashes

Wild rice stuffing (see recipe below)

1. Cook the acorn squash according to your preferred method. I cook them individually in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker by placing them on the rack with water up to the rack and cook them on high pressure for 10 minutes with a 10-minute natural pressure release.

2. Cut in half and remove seeds and set aside. You could also cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast them in a preheated 400-degree F oven on a nonstick silicone baking mat, cut side down, for about an hour.

3. Stuff each squash with the wild rice stuffing, (recipe follows) making a rounded mound over the top. Bake in a preheated 400-degree F oven for 30 minutes until rice starts to get a bit crunchy. If there is any filling leftover, place it in a baking dish and bake it at the same time as the squash.

4. Remove the squashes from the oven and drizzle each one with reduced balsamic vinegar. Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve and Bema and Pa’s Pumpkin Pie Spice infused are good choices. Serve with CranPEARy relish.

Apple, Cherry and Wild Rice Stuffing

1 cup of finely chopped onion

1 cup of finely chopped celery

1 cup of finely chopped carrots

1 cup of finely chopped Italian parsley

1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning

3 cups of cooked wild rice

2 cups of grated apple (I prefer Gala or Envy)

1 cup halved unsweetened, unsulfured dried cherries (see note below)

1. Water sauté the onions, celery and carrots until onion is translucent and the carrots are soft. Depending on how small you chop them, this could take 15-20 minutes.

2. Stir in the grated apple and poultry seasoning and cook for another minute or two. Add the parsley, dried cherries and cooked wild rice and stir until well combined. 

Notes: You can buy celery, onion and carrot together already cut up at many stores such as Trader Joes. It is called Mirepoix. My original recipe called for 1 cup of dried, dark sweet cherries, unsweetened and unsulfured (cut in half if large). Trader Joes sells these in 6 ounce bags. If the occasional use of dried fruit is not a trigger for you, or if you are making this recipe for others people, feel free to add it. If you are not at your goal weight, please remember that dried food is still calorically dense, approximately 1,300 calories per pound.