Califonia Bountiful
Side Dish

Rice stuffing with dried fruit

Dried fruit sparkles like tiny jewels in this rice stuffing. Add even more eye appeal by serving the dish in a baked squash.

Gwen Schoen

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1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 tbsp. butter, divided use
1 1/2 cups medium-grain white rice, uncooked
3 tbsp. salt
1/2 cup quartered dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios or pinenuts
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Place vegetable oil and 1 tbsp. of the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add rice and toss lightly until it is coated with melted butter. Add salt, apricots, raisins and cherries. Pour hot water over the mixture. Sprinkle grated orange peel and allspice over the top. Bring the mixture to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Cover the skillet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Let stand for 10 minutes. While the rice cools, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add nuts and quickly stir-fry them until they are lightly toasted. Before serving, sprinkle rice with black pepper and nuts.

We used a baked kabocha squash for our serving bowl, but you can also use cooked acorn squash. To cook the squash, cut off the top third of the squash at the stem end. With a spoon, scrape out the strings and seeds from the inside. Place the squash in a baking dish, cut-side down. Add about 1/2 cup water to the baking dish. Cover dish with foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until the squash can be pierced easily with a fork. Remove it from the baking dish and place it cut-side up on a platter. Fill with the cooked rice mixture before serving.

Serves 4

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