Related Read: Celebrate Northern Michigan Peaches with this Chutney Recipe.
As the days grew shorter that first fall, I started cooking. Inspired by the importance of bison, wild rice and squash in American Indian cookery, I created this recipe. At the time, I served it as a side dish, but it really shines as a standalone one-pot supper. Studded with manoomin (wild rice in Ojibwe) and dried cherries, it’s a comforting way for those of us who winter on the shores of michi gami to welcome “the season of storytelling,” as the darkest months are known to our Native friends.
Bison and Wild Rice Stuffed Squash Recipe
1 cup water
3 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided 1 small yellow onion, diced
1 pound ground bison
2 cups cooked wild rice (about 3⁄4 cup raw)
1 cup dried cherries
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 12 sage leaves, julienned
2. Place squash, cut side up, on a baking sheet and drizzle 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil across the squash, spreading
it around each cavity with your fingers. Season with salt and pepper and roast until the squash is fork-tender but still holds its shape, about 50 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Drizzle the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Fold in the ground bison and move around in the pan from time to time, cooking until it is no longer pink but still tender, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cooked wild rice and dried cherries until heated through, about 2 minutes more.
Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4. When the squash is fork-tender with a few brown blisters and any moisture that has pooled in the cavity is bubbling, remove it from the oven and fill with a heaping mound of the hot bison mixture. Top each stuffed squash with julienned sage and serve.