Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Pilaf

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One thing about having a well stocked pantry is that sometimes it becomes a little too well stocked.  I decided to take a peek into the depths and see what I had going on in there to find some inspiration for this week’s dinners.

Wild and brown rice make a lovely combination.
Wild and brown rice make a lovely combination.

I always have brown rice and I discovered a package of wild rice.  This time of year I am likely to have a winter squash of some kind taking up space on my counter.

Butternut squash coming out of the oven.
Butternut squash coming out of the oven.

We recently had a horrible two day frost here and even though everything else in my yard froze to death, my herbs survived like a champion.  My kale did too, but that is the beauty of kale.  You’ll likely find it still growing next spring, popping out of the snow.  Amazing vegetable. Parsley, rosemary, thyme and kale – all candidates for the pilaf too.

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Whenever I create a dish, I’m not just considering how it will taste, or whether my family will role their eyes at me. I am checking its nourishment quotient. Is this dish  full of nutrients? Will it fill me up, in a good way? Will I feel satisfied after eating this? With this pilaf it is a resounding yes, yes and yes. High fiber from the whole grains and squash, high doses of phytonutrients from the kale and fresh herbs. This recipe is a keeper. A nutritious, delicious fall side dish.

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With this recipe you can accomplish three things at one time, cutting down on a whole lot of unnecessary waiting. Simmer, saute and roast, all at once. I served this Pilaf with a simple roast pork loin, like this one. Enjoy your dinner tonight!

 Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Pilaf

Ingredients

1 cup wild rice
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
1 shallot, chopped small
1 clove garlic, mince or pressed
3 tablespoons fresh mixed herbs, such as parsley, thyme and/or rosemary (like I used) or just a single herb
1 small bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
1 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Add a generous sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper and toss together.  Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, boil 6 cups of water in a large pot with a generous sprinkle of salt.  Add the wild and brown rice, cover and bring down to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. While both are cooking, prep the vegetables and herbs. In a saute pan over medium heat add the other tablespoon of olive oil.  When warm, add the shallot and garlic and saute for one minute until soft.  Add the kale and continue to saute until wilted, then add the herbs.  Set aside until the rice and squash are finished cooking.
  4. Drain the rice well if there is excess water.  Turn the saute pan back on and add the rice along with the butternut squash and toss well.  Turn off the heat and add the soy sauce and parmesan to combine.  Add more if the rice needs it.  Serve hot.

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