04 December 2008

The Coldest of Winter Nights

My good friend made me stuffed squash. I went to see her new home after work and I came into a warm, softly lit house with food on the stove. As I sat at her cozy counter, we jabbered and she stirred vegetables in the pan. Some time later -after what seemed like no effort on her part- she served me a delicious and filling dinner. She boiled brown rice, caramelized finely chopped onions, celery and carrots, then added mushrooms to that, then sage leaves (which she grew), brown sugar and raisins. It was so simple.

When the rice was done, she poured a portion of it in the pan. When the acorn squash was done, she dolloped the rice stuffing into the bed of the squash. We ate it with some steamed green beans I brought. The sage in the stuffing was potent and nostalgic of traditional Thanksgiving stuffing and the brown sugar added a beautiful sweet taste which went well with the sweet flesh of the squash. The sauteed raisins became plump and they absorbed the oils and salt of the cooked vegetables while holding their sweet raisin taste. We split half of the acorn because it was so filling!

Since then, I've recreated this dish several times. As a variation, I made it into a casserole with feta cheese. I learned later that the recipe came from our good friend's mom, Katy, who recently passed away. That makes the dish even more warm and nurturing. It is hard to put a recipe with this Stuffed Squash because it is so much about instinct and intuition, and I think Katy would have liked it that way. So instead, I'll just give it a name.

Marianna's Mamma's Stuffed Squash
to be eaten on the coldest of winter nights
serves 2-4 depending on appetite

Bake acorn squash. Cook rice. Saute onions, celery, mushrooms. Throw in raisins, sage and brown sugar. Mix in rice and spoon into squash. Eat, listen to Lucinda Williams' Jackson, read a book and warm up.

1 comment:

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