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Kabocha Squash with Rice and Mushroom Stuffing
Appliance: Slow Cooker - 5 quarts and larger
Also Requires: Rice Cooker - 4 cup capacity and larger
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This gluten free recipe can add an Asian flare to Holiday Dinners
   2 small kabocha squash
   Salt and pepper, to taste
   1/2 cup water

For the Stuffing:
   3 ounces of fresh mushrooms, chopped
   2 whole green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
   1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce or gluten free tamari
   1 tablespoon vegetable oil
   2 garlic cloves, minced
   2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
   1/8 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (3-4 slices)
   1 cup short grain rice
   1 1/2 cup water

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, 3 to 4 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.

In a small bowl, toss the mushrooms and green onions with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Put the oil into the rice cooker's inner bowl and push Cook button. Use Saute setting, if applicable. Once warm, add ginger and garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add rice and bacon and stir to coat with the oil. Fry rice, stirring occasionally until grains turn opaque white, 7 - 10 minutes.

Add marinated mushrooms and scallions, the water and the remaining 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and stir to combine. Cover and push Cook button again, if necessary. Use White Rice setting, if applicable. Stuffing is ready when rice cooker switches to Keep Warm. Cooked stuffing can be kept in the rice cooker, on Keep Warm, for up to 1 hour.

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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