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Author Notes: This is my fall go-to and a potluck or meal train rockstar: baked and cheesy, whole grain and substantial, smokeysaltysweet. —a raisin + a porpoise
- 2 cups Bhutanese red rice (or sub short or medium grain brown)
- 1 medium red onion
- 1.5 pounds butternut squash or pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
- extra virgin olive oil
- 5 ounces smoked gouda or cheddar
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (see note)
- Cook the rice until tender, fluff it up and set aside to cool enough that it won’t melt the cheese when you combine everything.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment, and heat the oven to 425.
- Peel the onion, and chop it into a half-inch dice. In a medium bowl, toss it with about a T of olive oil and the cumin seed until evenly coated. Spread on one side of the prepared sheet.
- Peel and seed the squash, and dice it into 1/2″ cubes. In the same bowl, toss the squash with another little glug of olive oil, the maple syrup, a fat pinch of salt and a few twists of black pepper. Spread it in a single layer on the other side of the baking sheet.
- Roast in the oven, stirring gently from time to time, about 15-20 minutes. Keeping the two segregated allows you pull one or the other if their cooking rates are out of sync. You want them both to be tender and browned in places. Remove from the oven and let them cool a few minutes.
- Turn the oven down to 350. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish.
- Toss the cooked vegetables with the cooked rice and the minced chipotle pepper. Adjust seasoning and add a little more olive oil if needed so that every grain has a nice light sheen. Taste and adjust to your liking for salt. Toss the cubed cheese with the rice and vegetables, and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake about 25 minutes, until the cheese cubes visible on top are golden, and serve hot or at warm room temperature. A little chutney wouldn’t hurt, alongside at serving time.
- Note on chipotle peppers: about once a year, I buy a can or jar of chipotle in adobo at Ye Olde Average Grocery Store. I dump the contents into a small ziploc bag, and pull one or two at a time out as needed. They don’t freeze rock-hard, making it easy to extract just what you need, and while frozen they are very much easier to chop.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe for When You Want It to Feel Like Fall