We have had a few cooler days here in Nashville (of course we still are in the 80's here and again), but cooler weather does call for a menu change. Time to get to roastin'!
roasted acorn squash with brown sugar butter
1 acorn squash (halved or quartered with seeds scooped out)
1-2 teaspoons EVOO
1 tablespoon butter, room temp
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Takes acorn squash halves or quarters and assemble on a cookie sheet. Brush all exposed squash flesh with oil, equally split the butter and rub over flesh. Spring brown sugar on each piece and generously salt and pepper. Ensure squash balance flesh-side up. Add a little bit of water to the pan (less than 1/4 cup) and place in oven on middle rack. Roast for an hour - pricking the squash to see if the flesh is soft. It may take up to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cornish game hens stuffed with wild rice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley, plus sprigs for garnish
1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces, broken
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons dried currants
4 dried apricots, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Cornish hens, patted dry
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-low heat. Saute the onions and celery until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for 1 minute more. In a mixing bowl combine the onion mixture with the rice, parsley, nuts and dried fruits and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place 1/2 cup of the rice into the cavity of each hen. Tie the legs of each bird together with kitchen twine. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Melt the remaining butter with the vinegar. Brush the birds all over with the butter mixture and season with salt and pepper. Put the hens on a rack in a large roasting pan, breast-side up. Roast the hens until an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 170 degrees F., about 80 minutes. Set the birds aside at room temperature, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before carving.