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Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Walnuts and Cranberries
Appliance: Slow Cooker - 6 quarts and larger
Also Requires: Rice Cooker - 6 cup capacity and larger
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This Gluten Free, Meat Free recipe is perfect for Holiday dinners
Ingredients
   3 – 4 small acorn squash
   Salt and pepper, to taste
   1/2 cup water

For the Stuffing:
   3/4 cup chopped walnuts
   2 tablespoons butter
   1 stalk of celery, diced
   1 small carrot, peeled and diced
   3/4 cup onion, finely diced
   3 1/2 cups lower sodium chicken or vegetable broth
   1 tablespoons chopped thyme
   1 teaspoons chopped sage
   2/3 cups wild rice
   2/3 cups long-grain white or basmati rice
   1 cups dried cranberries
   1/3 cup chopped parsley
   Salt and pepper to taste


Directions
Wash squash. Using a vegetable cleaver, cut in half through the stem to the base. If you don't have a cleaver, you can first slice off the stem end (which can be very tough to cut through). Scoop out the seeds and fibers. Sprinkle the flesh with a little bit of salt and pepper.

Pour the water into the bottom of your slow cooker's crock or inner bowl. Put squash into the crock, skin side down, stacking them as necessary. Cover and cook on high until flesh is soft throughout, about 3 hours. Cooked squash will stay warm in the covered slow cooker (on Off) for 30 to 40 minutes, or on Keep Warm for 60 to 90 minutes, while you prepare the stuffing.

Add walnuts to the inner bowl of your rice cooker and push Cook button. Use saute setting, if available. Toast, stirring frequently, until nuts darken slightly and become fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to cool.

Add butter to the inner bowl of your rice cooker and push Cook button. Use saute setting, if available. When butter has melted, add celery, carrot and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in wild rice, broth, half the thyme and half the sage. Cover and cook 40 minutes. Use brown rice or wild rice setting, if available. Stir in white rice and cook until rice is almost tender 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cranberries and the remaining thyme and sage. Continue cooking until rice is tender, about 5 minutes more. Your rice cooker may not switch to keep warm, as some of the liquid may remain.

Switch rice cooker to Keep Warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cooked stuffing can be kept in the rice cooker, on Keep Warm, for up to 1 hour. Stir in walnuts and parsley just before stuffing the squash.

Generously spoon stuffing into the cavity of the cooked squash, mounding extra stuffing above the top of the squash, if desired, and serve. Stuffed squash can be restacked in the slow cooker, if space allows, and held on Keep Warm, or Low for 30 minutes before serving.

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