Sheesh. I’m finally back in business.
Last week John and I took a vacation with some friends down to the North rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce National Park, and Zion’s National Park. So, so beautiful. We also spent some time hanging out in St. George, Utah visiting areas where some of our friends grew up. It was fun to hear their stories and learn things about their lives that I never knew, things which give depth and richness to the people that they have become.
Life has some interesting twists and turns. I am from South Carolina originally. One of the couples with whom we took our vacation, Mark and Chris, are both from Utah. A few years ago Mark and Chris moved from Utah to South Carolina because of Mark’s job. They love to travel and visit every nook and cranny of wherever they go. Of special interest and meaning to me is that they moved to the city in which I was born and visited the small town where I spent a large part of my youth and where some of my relatives still live. Now, on this vacation, I had the opportunity to learn about my friends’ childhoods and see where they grew up. I have found that exchanging pasts in these intimate sorts of ways builds tight and lasting bonds of friendship.
While we were away last week, I had thought that I would be able to do a few posts, but…I unexpectedly ended up without internet access. Very inconvenient. It was ultimately a good thing, though, because it allowed me to focus on living in the moment and those moments were priceless.
Oh, and during those internetless days, I had the opportunity to think somewhat about acorn squash. Are you laughing or gawking at that sentence? Yeah, pretty odd. But, afterall, I do have this little hobby of writing a food blog and I do cook and I knew that I had some beautiful acorn squash waiting for me when I returned from my vaycay, soooo….I thought about what I could do with those squash. I vacillated between sweet and savory. Winter squash baked with butter and brown sugar is my all time favorite, but I needed to expand my horizons, so I worked on coming up with something savory.
After taking my first bite of this acorn squash with wild rice pilaf and polska kielbasa, I looked at my husband and made the most profound statement of my life: “Wo. This is really good.” My verbal capacity for self expression is astounding.
For the squash:
- 2 large acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise with seeds scooped out
- 4 tablespoons softened butter
- salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the pilaf:
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) polska kielbasa or similar style sausage, medium diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup wild rice and rice blend (I used a mix of wild rice and three other rices)
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning OR 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- sprinkle of ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the squash:
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
- Spread the cut surface of each prepared squash half with a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place squash, cut side up, in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Pour water into dish to about 1/4″-1/2″ deep.
- Bake in oven until tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.
For the pilaf:
- While squash is baking, prepare pilaf. Heat 3 quart sauce pot over medium heat; add olive oil and butter. Add the kielbasa and saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add the diced onion to the kielbasa and cook until onions are translucent. Stir as needed to keep onions from burning.
- Add the rice to the kielbasa and onions, stir to mix well.
- Pour the chicken broth over the rice mixture and stir in the poultry seasoning or rosemary and a light sprinkle of black pepper. Bring to a boil, turn heat to medium low and cover pot. Simmer rice until broth is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Spoon rice mixture into cavity of baked acorn squash. Serve. Note: This dish is hearty enough to use as a main course. Serve with a side salad and rolls.