Do not be fooled by this title.  Seriously, the title was in the hopes of capturing wee little ones taste buds, and fooling them at the same time. If I had asked my kids when they were little: "would you like some golden cherry rice stir fry"?  They would have been all over it...not knowing there was squash in this dish at all. Actually, as a parent, I was pretty lucky, my kids loved all food, they were not in the least bit fussy.  However, I know some parents struggle, so this is a great dish that hides all the wonderful yummy nutrients.
Each year, I try to come up with new Squash dishes, being the squash freak that I am, but honestly, this one is a winner - so dang good and healthy too!  We had this wonderful side dish with seared pork chops - a match made in heaven.  But, truly, this dish stands on it's own.  Delicious, hearty, and flavorful.
I had 1/2 of a large Butternut squash in the fridge, as well as a big batch of steamed rice.....what to do?  I decided to wing it - so glad I did, in fact, we might have this dish again tomorrow.  Aside from the sweet nutty flavor of butternut squash, and the sweet/tart dried cherries - there was a definite added dimension to this dish that was surprising.  I opted to use Dry rubbed Sage and Thyme with this dish...however, Curry seasonings would also be heavenly.
1 cup of mashed, roasted Butternut Squash
salt and pepper
3 Tblsp. Grape Seed Oil
25 dried Sweet/Tart dried Cherries, sliced in half
2 finely sliced green onions
2 minced shallots
6 diced crimini mushrooms
4 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp. dry rubbed Sage
1/2 tsp. dry Thyme
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
1 cup cooked Basmati Rice
1/2 cup chicken stock
Slice the butternut squash in half, skin on, and drizzle with Olive oil to coat.  Roast in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until tender.  Remove to a platter and set aside.  Once cooled, mash with a fork to equal 1 cup.
Here is the minced cherries and veggies for this dish (minus the squash):
Heat up a non stick pan with the grape seed oil on low medium heat.  Add in the mushrooms, sauteing until golden.  Then add in the shallots, sauteing for about 3 more minutes.  Add in the garlic, green onions, cherries, and seasonings, sauteing another 2-3 minutes.
Then add in the mashed squash, and 3/4 cup of chicken stock, stirring to incorporate.  Check for seasonings, and bring to temperature - another 2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of cooked rice, with another 1/2 cup of Chicken stock, again check for seasonings.
Bring to a simmer, continue to stir until thickened, about a minute or two.  Serve hot, with any main dish or vegetarian dish.

Ina Gawne


  1. That looks so delightfully delicious, Ina! You're living up to your blog name for sure. 😉 I love all the step-by-step photos. I never get tired of seeing the beauty of real food coming together in a skillet. Does that make me crazy? Seriously, I think that sauted veggies and sauces being reduced, etc. are just the most beautiful things. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Shirley! Your kind words have made my day. I love pictures of food, and especially fresh produce! One of the other reasons I take these photos is for my daughter, who is now cooking some great food! Happy Monday to you! 🙂

  2. Ina, this rice dish looks fabulous. I am SO making this very soon...minus the cherries! Are the cherries essential, or can they be omitted? I was thinking of using chopped walnuts instead...

    1. Thanks Erin. The cherries really added a sweet/tart flavor...walnuts would be wonderful, I wonder if lemon, apple or pear would give the sweet/tart taste? Or, dates and lemon? The base of this dish was really a sweet/tart flavor. Can't wait to see what you come up with! 🙂

  3. Hi Ina, I made this the other night and the kids loved it! I made it without cherries, did not compensate to make it tart. The girls *loved* it. I will be making this often!

  4. Waw!! It is mostly liker that that you come up with good & tasty dishes, invented this way!
    The rice mix looks so tempting & lovely too! Yum!

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November 27, 2011