This is an adaptation of a recipe given to me by Stephanie Rosenbaum, a San Francisco based food writer. Stephanie is a vegetarian, and this is her favorite Thanksgiving entrée. The festive combination of wild rice with sautéed vegetables, fresh herbs, toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries tastes great and looks pretty on the plate. The addition of hickory-baked tofu adds a rich depth of flavor that complements the wild rice perfectly. I suspect you’ll have your turkey-eating guests asking for samples.
4 acorn or dumpling squash
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups wild rice
1 3/4 cups canned vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon salt plus extra to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large (about 12 ounces) yellow onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
2 large ribs celery finely chopped
1 large carrot peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley minced
1 package (6 ounces) hickory-baked tofu cut into 1/4-inch dice (see Cook’s Note)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts toasted
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. If necessary, trim the top and bottom so that the squash will sit level, and place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side up. Sprinkle each half with a little salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste. Using 2 tablespoons of the butter, dot each half with some butter. Cover the pan with foil and bake the squash just until moist and tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the rice, vegetable broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups of water, in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 40 minutes.
In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Swirl to coat the pan and sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Cover the pan, adjust the heat to medium-low, and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, 5 minutes longer. Add the sage, thyme, and parsley and sauté 1 more minute. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, sautéed vegetables, tofu, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired. Mound the rice mixture into the squash halves, dividing it evenly. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces. Dot each stuffed squash with butter. Cover with foil. Bake at 350ºF until heated through, about 20 minutes.
Look for hickory-baked tofu in the refrigerator case of natural food stores.