This impressive autumn-inspired dish can be served as a main course for vegan and vegetarian eaters or can be enjoyed by everyone at the table as a side dish. The small amount of curry powder gives the squash a nice warmth and depth. From the Food Network.
- 2 medium butternut squash (2 to 2¼ pounds each)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ cup wild rice
- ½ teaspoon mild curry powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons dried unsweetened cherries
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Arrange the halves in a large baking dish, flesh-side up.
- Whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and 2 tablespoons oil. Brush the flesh-side of the squash halves with some of the maple-oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the squash flesh-side down in the baking dish, then brush the skin side with the maple-oil mixture and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Roast until the squash is fork-tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the squash rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop some of the flesh out into a large bowl, leaving about ¼-inch border of flesh all around. Leave the scooped-out flesh in relatively large chunks.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the rice, curry powder, cinnamon, cayenne and ½ teaspoon salt and stir until the spices are toasted, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water and bring to a simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes (different brands of wild rice may vary in cooking times; add more water if needed). Remove from heat and add to the chunks of butternut squash along with the remaining maple-oil, cherries, parsley, sage, ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Evenly stuff the scooped-out squash halves with the filling, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and bake, uncovered, until the filling is warmed through, about 30 minutes. Cut each in half crosswise and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with walnuts and parsley. Serve warm.