This makes an attractive dish for the Thanksgiving table, using several native American foods. It balances the acid berries with mellow squash, salty ham and smoky wild rice.
Makes 4 servings.
2 acorn squash, preferably small ones
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
3 scallions, chopped
½ cup pancetta or good ham, diced
1 cup fresh cranberries
2 cups cooked wild rice
Salt and pepper to taste
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. With a large, heavy knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and strings. If necessary, cut a slice off the bottoms so the squash halves stand without rocking. Brush a little of the olive oil on the cut surfaces. Lay the squash cut-side-down in a baking pan, add a little water to cover the bottom and bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
While they are baking, heat the remaining oil in a saucepan and gently sauté the scallions to soften them. Stir in the pancetta or ham; if there’s any fat frizzle to brown it. Stir in the cranberries, cover and cook until the berries burst. Stir in the wild rice; cover and let the rice heat through and absorb the moisture. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.
Turn the squash over in the baking pan, spoon the stuffing into the cavities (do not overfill) and bake 15 to 20 minutes more.