Baked Pumpkin With Mixed Rice Pilaf

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1 5- to 6-lb.pumpkin or several small winter squash
3 3/4 cups water
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup wild rice
2 Tbsp. margarine
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 small tart apples, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
Dash nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cinnamon or more to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp. apple cider
1/4 cup golden raisins

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. With a sharp knife, cut off the top of the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers and discard, or save the seeds for toasting. Place the pumpkin, with the top next to it, on a baking sheet. Bake in the center of the oven until the inside of the pumpkin is tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and keep warm, covering the top of the pumpkin with foil to prevent the flesh from drying out.
• Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the brown and wild rice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until most of the water has been absorbed, about 50 minutes.
• Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Heat the margarine in a large skillet. Add the onions and sauté until golden. Add the apples, pecans, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the apple cider and sauté for 5 more minutes. Then add the golden raisins and wild rice and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
• Spoon the wild rice pilaf into the pumpkin and cover with the baked top. When serving, scoop out pumpkin flesh along with the pilaf.

Makes 6 Servings

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