Steam-Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Saffron Rice

Ali Clarke and Santos Loo
Ali Clarke and Santos Loo
November 21, 2023
One of our favorite cooking methods is preparing a full meal inside a squash. Acorn squash is the perfect vessel in which to cook rice, which is flavored with saffron, raisins, pistachios, and a dash of cinnamon. By steam-roasting the rice-stuffed squash in the Anova Precision Oven, the rice is just as fluffy and perfectly cooked as if you steamed it in a pot, but you avoid doing the dishes. We like to use small acorn squash for this recipe so each squash is its own meal, but it's easy to increase the amount of rice in this recipe if you find larger squash. And if you’re working with larger squash, you can also cut the squash in half once baked and serve it that way. It is perfect for any vegetarians you have coming for the holidays but is equally easy and delicious for a weeknight meal. Top it all off with our tangy yogurt sauce with roasted shallots and pomegranate seeds for some freshness. Notes: If your squash is larger than 1 pound, then add enough rice to fill the cavity halfway in step 5. Follow the remaining recipe as written, adding enough stock to come up to the top of the squash cavity. Adjust the salt as needed if you are using more rice than what is called for in the recipe. You will likely need to add additional cooking time with larger squash. Check on it every 10 minutes after the one hour timer goes off and continue to cook until the squash is tender and the rice is cooked through. This recipe uses Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Steam-Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Saffron Rice
For the Yogurt Topping
2 large
shallots, thinly sliced
3 Tbsp
extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp
kosher salt, divided
1 cup
plain low-fat yogurt
2 tsp
fresh lemon juice
For the Stuffed Squash
4 small
acorn squash, about 1 pound each
1 cup (192g)
long grain white rice, such as basmati or jasmine, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp
unsalted butter
2 Tbsp
extra-virgin olive oil
1 large
shallot, finely diced (about ⅓ cup)
3 cloves
garlic, minced
¼ cup
lightly packed parsley leaves, roughly chopped
¼ cup (30g)
roasted, unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
¼ cup (45g)
golden raisins
1 tsp
kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 to 3 tsp
loose saffron threads, to taste
¼ tsp
ground cinnamon
1 cup
low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more as needed
Pomegranate seeds, to garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the Oven

Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 375°F
Heat: Rear

2. Roast the Shallots for the Yogurt Sauce

In a medium bowl, mix the sliced shallots, olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of the salt to combine. Transfer to a quarter sheet pan and roast until the shallots are slightly crispy and browned, 6 to 12 minutes. Some pieces will brown quicker than others, so remove those when brown and then continue roasting the shallots until all are done. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Roast the Shallots for the Yogurt Sauce
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 375°F
Heat: Rear
00:12 Timer

3. Prepare the Squash

While the shallots roast, prepare the squash. The rice will cook in the squash stem-side down, so to prep the squash, you will need to create a stable and level base. Cut away the woody stem and a thin amount of the skin and meat, without exposing the center cavity of the squash, until the squash can stand firmly upright on its own. To hollow out the squash, slice about 1 inch off from the tapered end until you expose the cavity; reserve this “lid” for later use. Use a spoon to scrape the seeds away and discard. Stand the squash with matching lids on a sheet pan.
Prepare the Squash

4. Adjust the Oven for the Squash

Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 75%
Temp: 350°F
Heat: Rear

5. Measure and Wash the Rice

Fill each squash cavity halfway with dry rice; expect to use about ¼ cup per squash. (If you are using larger squash, you will need more rice; see the note above.) Pour the rice out of the squash into a large bowl. If any rice sticks to the squash, add a little water to the squash and swirl it around to remove the rice. Don’t worry if a few grains stick after this step. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and then drain thoroughly, removing as much water as possible. Set aside.
Measure and Wash the Rice

6. Prepare the Filling

In a large saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted and the oil is hot, add the shallots, garlic, parsley, pistachios, raisins, 1 teaspoon salt, saffron, and cinnamon. (The rice is delicious with 1 teaspoon of saffron, but if you have more on hand, add up to 3 teaspoons for a deeper flavor.) Cook, stirring often, until the spices bloom, the shallots soften and become translucent, and the nuts just begin to toast, about 3 minutes. Add the drained rice and cook until it is dry and slightly toasted, about 3 more minutes. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the rice from sticking.
Prepare the Filling

7. Fill the Squash

Use a spoon to divide the rice mixture between the squash, tapping the squash lightly to evenly fill the squash. The rice mixture should come about three-quarters of the way up the squash. Do not press or pack the rice. Fill each squash to the top with stock, using about ¼ cup per squash. (You will likely need more for larger squash.) Cover each squash with the reserved “lids.”
Fill the Squash

8. Steam-Roast the Squash

Transfer to the oven and steam-roast for 1 hour, until the squash is tender but still holds its shape and the rice is cooked through.
Steam-Roast the Squash
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 75%
Temp: 350°F
Heat: Rear
01:00 Timer

9. Finish the Yogurt Sauce

While the squash cools off a bit, make the yogurt sauce. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and the crispy shallots.
Finish the Yogurt Sauce

10. Serve

Remove the squash from the oven. Remove the “lids” and top each squash with a dollop of yogurt sauce and some pomegranate seeds, if using. Serve any remaining yogurt sauce on the side.
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