I tried to keep in mind all those toffee-nosed concerns of recipe development, such as brightening the rice while complimenting its nutty flavor, making it savoury while not neglecting to acknowledge the innate sweetness of wild rice and pomegranate arils. Who realized "snobbery" actually does have its place in the world? This recipe calls for high-quality olive oil and I used one infused with lemon, which gave the rice and squash the most exquisite flavor of barely-there citrus. If you cannot find a lemon-infused olive oil, I would recommend grating some lemon zest into the pilaf after the rice is finished cooking. Just so you don't miss out on the little punch of sunshine it adds.
Pomegranate Wild-Rice Pilaf (in roasted acorn squash)
For the pilaf:
4 cups water or chicken broth
1 cup wild rice grains
3/4 cup brown rice grains
3 bay leaves
1/2 onion, diced
salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon high-quality olive oil (recommended: lemon-infused oil)
For the squash:
1 acorn squash (about 1 pound), washed and halved, pulp scooped out
1 pomegranate, arils separated from rind
1/2 cup high-quality olive oil
salt & pepper
- For the pilaf: melt butter in a large saucepan. Add olive oil and saute onions until translucent. Add water, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and rice. Boil until rice grains are tender, about 45 minutes. The wild rice will be slightly crunchier than the brown rice; this is okay.
- While rice is cooking, prepare squash by brushing olive oil over the flesh and skin, then sprinkling with salt and pepper. Roast at on wax-paper at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Assemble pilaf by draining rice and mixing with pomegranate arils, a pinch more salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm in squash "bowls," or remove skin from squash, cube, and toss with pilaf.
I love the ease of this recipe. I love the flavors, the colors, and the fact that you can have it for breakfast (which I what I did) or lunch or with dinner or even with Thanksgiving dinner. My mom cut up a tart apple and mixed it with hers. I'm dreaming of feta crumbles. If hard-boiled eggs are your thing, you could try mixing that in. Roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Chopped pecans or almonds. Dried cranberries. Basically, have at it and enjoy the heck out of autumn's bounty. You won't regret this. And because I love it so much, I spazzed on video for you. Enjoy, darling things.