This savory winter dish fills the kitchen with fragrance -- sweet dumpling squash is roasted, then baked with a nutty wild rice filling. If sweet dumpling squash isn't available, use another rich-flavored winter squash, such as delicata, kabocha, or butternut. If you can't find fennel, use two celery ribs instead. Serve with Roasted Shallows and a hearty soup of winter greens.
sweet dumpling, delicata, or other flavorful winter squash (about 2 lb. each)
red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
garlic, finely chopped
fennel, quartered lengthwise, cored, and diced (about 1 cup)
dry white wine
pine nuts, toasted (Field of Greens pg263)
orange, zest, cut into thin threads
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a small bowl, combine the golden raisins and currants; cover them with hot water and set aside to plump. Bring the quart of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. When it boils, add 1/2 tsp salt and the wild rice. Lower the heat to a gentle boil; cover and cook until the grains are tender but still chewy, about 30 to 35 minutes. Drain the rice if necessary.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan; add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fennel. Heat the fennel through, then add the wine and simmer until the pan is nearly dry.
In a medium-size bowl, toss the rice with the sautéed onions and fennel; add the plumped fruit, pine nuts, and orange zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. The filling should be well seasoned.
Divide the filling among the 8 squash halves and place in a baking dish with 1/4" water.
Cover and bake until the filled squash is hot, and steamy, about 30 to 40 minutes.