This rice pilaf dish is something I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner...and I don't think even 3 times a day I would get bored eating it!  There was so much going on in this dish in terms of flavor, texture, savory and sweet - delicious.
With all of the wonderful autumn squashes available right now - it is easy to create wonderful savory dishes.  The inspiration for this dish came from our Canadian Living Magazine - for their original recipe please check here. I made quite a few changes to their recipe - so will do a full recap here.
4 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - divided
3 minced garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
2 large crimini mushrooms, diced
big handful of fresh baby organic spinach leaves - chopped
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of cinnamon
1  bay leaf
4 cups of organic butternut squash, peeled cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup roasted organic pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried organic cranberries - roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro and extra for garnish
3 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the squash, and place onto a baking dish.  Drizzle EVOO just to very lightly coat, season with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Heat up a saute pan on low medium heat with the rest of the olive oil.  Add in the diced mushrooms, sauteing until lightly golden - about 5 min.  Then add in the onion, garlic, bay leaf and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute until the onions are translucent.  Then add in the curry powder, pinch of cinnamon and cumin, sauteing until fragrant.  Pour in the one cup of rice and stir to coat for about 2 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock, stirring well, lid on turn heat to medium high.  Once boiling, stir with a fork, lid on and turn down to minimum heat for another 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, heat up a frying pan on low medium heat to lightly toast the pumpkin seeds.  Stir from time to time for about 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted, then set aside.
Remove the lid from the rice pan, and add in the fresh lemon juice, minced cilantro and spinach - stirring well to combine.
Transfer to a platter, and gently mix in the roasted squash, cranberries, top with the roasted pumpkins seeds and cilantro garnish.
(think I will make this again tomorrow - goes well with any fish or meat entree.  Enjoy...we sure did!

Ina Gawne


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November 4, 2013