Acorn Squash with Sage-Cranberry Rice Stuffing
The challenge: Slow cooker recipes usually make a gallon of food. I’m only cooking for two, and I don’t want all those leftovers.
Our solution: Hack the cooker so that you can make smaller amounts with great results. For a stew or braise, use smaller amounts, place into 8- or 10-ounce ramekins, and set those down in the cooker to slowly simmer to perfection while you’re at work. With this recipe, you’re basically treating the slow cooker like a small steam oven. The ice slows down the cooking so the squash doesn’t overcook. The technique works beautifully to yield buttery-soft squash and to meld the flavors in the stuffing. It’s a vegetarian—vegan, actually—dish that’s easy and satisfying.
How to Make It
Knead the rice pouch to separate the grains. Combine rice, cranberries, green onions, oil, chopped sage, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl, tossing well. Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds and membranes. Divide rice mixture evenly between squash halves.
Tightly twist a sheet of aluminum foil into 2 (6-inch) rings. Place foil rings side by side in bottom of slow cooker. Place each squash half, cut side up, on 1 foil ring. Place ice cubes on bottom of slow cooker around foil rings. Cover, and cook on low until squash is very tender, about 7 hours and 30 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons hazelnuts on each squash half before serving. Garnish with sage and thyme leaves, if desired.