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2 medium acorn squash

Safflower oil for coating squash

Minced chives, parsley or scallions for garnish

2 tablespoons safflower oil

¼ cup finely chopped shallots or onions

¼ cup finely diced celery

1 cup finely diced fresh crimini or button mushrooms

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cooked long-grain brown rice*

1 cup cooked wild rice*

½ cup coarsely chopped roasted pecans

½ cup dried cranberries

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon ground thyme

* Native American hand-harvested wild rice is preferred. (Native American hand-harvested wild rice is available in most natural food stores.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut each squash in half and remove the seeds. Lightly coat the outside of each half with safflower oil and place on a baking sheet. Set aside. To prepare the stuffing, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the celery, mushrooms, and salt, and sauté another 4 to 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release their juice. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to a medium mixing bowl along with the remaining stuffing ingredients. Mix until well combined. Fill the squash halves with stuffing, cover each with foil, and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is tender when poked with a fork. Remove the foil and bake another 7 to 10 minutes to brown slightly. Garnish with chives before serving. Yield: 4 servings.

• Substitute chopped roasted walnuts or hazelnuts for the pecans.

• Instead of cranberries, try dried blueberries or coarsely chopped dried cherries.

Kitchen Ade note: I used Lundberg Family Farm’s Wild Blend Rice for the rice in this recipe, which I located at my local Wal Mart for just under three dollars for a one-pound bag.

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