Wild Rice Stuffed Squash

Prep and cook time:  1¼ hour      Serves 4

1    cup mixed brown basmati and wild rice
3    cups water (or bone broth, chicken stock, or veggie broth)
4    small acorn squashes
¾   cup cooked chestnuts (canned or vacuum-packed), roughly chopped
1    small red onion, finely chopped
2    tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2    tablespoons chopped parsley
½   cup crumbled raw goat cheese, optional
salt and pepper to taste
coconut oil spray
¼   cup toasted walnuts for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer very gently until the rice is just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain off any excess water. Set aside.

Using a large, sharp knife, slice off the top quarter (stalk end) of each squash; set aside tops. Scoop out the seeds from the center of the squashes using a small spoon. Trim the bases to make them level, if necessary. Spray the cavity of each squash with coconut oil spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a large ovenproof dish or roasting pan.

Mix together the rice, chestnuts, onion, thyme, and parsley in a large bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon the rice mixture into the squashes, pressing it down, and mounding it up neatly on top. Replace tops. Bake until the flesh of the squash is tender when pierced with a small, sharp knife, about 45 minutes. Add goat cheese, if desired, as soon as you remove from oven. Top with toasted walnuts. Serve hot.

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